Monday, January 7, 2013
Instant analysis: Alabama 42, ND 14
By Matt Fortuna
MIAMI -- Alabama became the first team to repeat as BCS champions, as the Tide rolled through Notre Dame on Monday night, 42-14, to win the Discover BCS National Championship, their third title in four years. Here is how it went down.
It was over when: Following a three-and-out from Notre Dame, officials blew a call on Alabama's punt return, ruling that Christion Jones was hit by an Irish player. He was hit by a teammate. Instead of an Irish fumble recovery and some early momentum, the Tide marched down the field for a 14-0 lead and never looked back.
Gameball goes to: The offensive line paved the way for Alabama's run game and protected AJ McCarron all night. Alabama scored touchdowns on its first three drives and made it look easy, taking any chance away from the Irish early. This was an historic group.
Stat of the game: The longest drive against Notre Dame in the regular season was 75 yards. On Monday, Alabama had drives of 82, 80, 97 and 86 yards.
Best call: We'll change this to worst call: The Jones fumble that wasn't. It looked like a pivotal play at the time and ended up not mattering in the grand scheme of things, but it was an awful, awful call.
Second guessing: Not to take away from Alabama's defense, but Notre Dame's No. 1 scoring defense look disheveled throughout the night, missing tackles left and right, blowing assignments and getting the ball taken to it all night.
What Alabama learned: The Tide are a dynasty. No ifs, ands or buts about it. Nick Saban has his third national title in four years, and his fourth overall. The scary part? Alabama may be even better next year.
What Notre Dame learned: Everyone who said the Irish were lucky to be here feels a little validated. It was an historic season by almost any measure for Notre Dame, but one has to wonder just how far this program is from being the best of the best after a demoralizing Monday night.