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January 8, 2013

Five plays help swing BCS title game




MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. | Five moments that most heavily impacted the University of Alabama's 42-14 BCS National Championship Game win over Notre Dame Monday night.

1. Lacy TD to open game
Eddie Lacy's 20-yard touchdown run to finish the game's opening drive couldn't have been more of a statement for the Alabama offense, nor more demoralizing for the Fighting Irish, in that it came straight up the middle off a block by center Barrett Jones. Lacy's first score not only put six points on the scoreboard, it also told a proud and successful Notre Dame defense where it could find the ball for much of the game. And that knowing it might not matter.

"It was big. We needed it," said AJ McCarron. "We needed to come out and start fast. We got to set the tone for the rest of the game."

2. Clinton-Dix interception
Whatever life remained in the Fighting Irish was dashed by HaHa Clinton-Dix's diving interception on the first possession of the second half. Trailing 28-0, Notre Dame came out of halftime with a no-huddle offense in hopes of not only putting the Crimson Tide defense on its heels, but perhaps to conserve game clock as well.

It worked to the extent that the Fighting Irish marched into Alabama territory and threatened to at least put itself in position for a field goal. But the drive, and any hope of a Notre Dame comeback, was extinguished when Everett Golson's deep pass down the right sideline was tipped high in the air by cornerback Dee Milliner, and safety Clinton-Dix caught the ball while diving out of bounds.

"It was man coverage and he was playing middle of the field, and had a great break on the ball," Milliner said of Clinton-Dix. "I tried to pick it, but I couldn't get my hand on top of the ball, so I tipped it in the air."

3. McCarron finds Jones
Alabama's Christion Jones made one of the key receptions of the first half on a nice, over-the-shoulder catch for 27 yards from AJ McCarron near the end of the first half. With Alabama leading 21-0, the play came on a 3rd and 6 snap from the Notre Dame 38. McCarron surveyed the field with plenty of time to throw, and found Jones running free to his right.

Jones was tackled at the Fighting Irish 11, and McCarron found Eddie Lacy for his second touchdown pass on the next play.

"I kind of felt like AJ would come to me on that, because it was man coverage. We always get good timing on that corner route, and we got good timing on it that time," Jones said.

4. Jones gets it done
UA center Barrett Jones' ability to not only play but play effectively on a foot injury was a big factor for the Alabama offense. Jones admitted after the game that he will have surgery to repair ligament tears in his mid-foot area.

"It's frustrating and very painful, but I wasn't missing this one," Jones said.

5. McCarron to Cooper
Amari Cooper's 19-yard touchdown catch to finish Alabama's scoring in the fourth quarter may have not been pivotal in the outcome, but the freshman reached the 1,000-yard mark and broke the Alabama record for touchdown catches in a season (11) on the same play.

"It was split safety coverage, and I knew if Coop got around that guy, as soon as he bobbled his head, I was going to let it go," McCarron said. "I was going to rip it in there. I threw it on a line drive and he made a great catch."

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