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January 7, 2013

Alabama crushes Notre Dame

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. | Picture Alabama's greatest moment in its previous history with Notre Dame, Cornelius Bennett's crushing hit on Steve Beurlein in 1986. Now imagine that hit lasting, not for a split-second but for 60 minutes.

That provides some idea of what happened on Monday night.

Alabama hit Notre Dame with Ferrari speed and Mack Truck force in the BCS Championship Game, rolling to a 42-14 victory and securing a third Bowl Championship Series title in four years. The win was also the seventh straight national championship victory for a Southeastern Conference team and perhaps the most impressive as the No. 1 ranked Irish were thoroughly outmanned, clearly the slower and less talented team.

The 28-point margin of victory was the largest in BCS Championship history with the exception of USC's 55-19 win over Okalahoma in 2005, a result that was later vacated.

Alabama rolled through the Notre Dame defense on each of its first three possessions, accumulating more than 200 yards in the first quarter alone. Eddie Lacy scored the first Alabama touchdown on a 20-yard run, capping an 82-yard touchdown march that began when Notre Dame, after winning the opening toss, deferred and chose to give UA the ball to start the game.

After a three-and-out, Alabama went on a 61-yard march with Michael Williams of Reform capping the drive on a three-yard touchdown pass from A.J. McCarron and giving UA a 14-0 lead. Notre Dame (12-1) managed one first down in its next possession, punted again and gave up an 80 yard touchdown drive, capped when the Crimson Tide's T.J. Yeldon scored on a 1-yard run on the first play of the second quarter. The remainder of the final three periods consisted, more or less, of UA imposing its will and head coach Nick Saban deciding what he wanted the final margin to be. Notre Dame, to its credit, did score a pair of second-half touchdowns -- one on a run by quarterback Everett Golson, the other on a Golson pass -- but neither threatened to alter the outcome.

There was also the Amari Cooper Show. The Crimson Tide freshman receiver highlighted the second half with two touchdowns, a 34-yard scoring catch in the third quarter and a 19-yard reception early in the fourth quarter. That gave Cooper a school record with 11 touchdown receptions on the season and put him over the 1,000-yard mark on receiving.

Lacy also had an 11-yard touchdown catch from McCarron, who completed 20 of 28 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns.

Alabama outgained the Irish 523 yards to 302. More impressively, the Crimson Tide limited Notre Dame -- who came in advertised as a "physical" team -- to just 32 rushing yards.

Meanwhile, both Lacy (140 yards) and freshman Yeldon (108) went over the 100-yard mark for the Crimson Tide.

Lacy was named the game's Most Outstanding Offensive Player, while Crimson Tide linebacker C.J. Mosley won Most Outstanding Defensive Player.

The victory lifted Saban to a perfect 4-0 in BCS Championship games, including three titles at Alabama and one at LSU. Alabama's three national titles in four years equals the mark set by Nebraska in the mid-90's, prior to the advent of the BCS.


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