Last night’s long-awaited Discovery BCS Championship game was one for the ages for the number one-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Sun Field Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Well, that was until the game started and ended with Alabama claiming its second straight
National Championship in a 42-14 drubbing of the Fighting Irish.
Alabama set the tone for the game in its initial offensive drive. Crimson Tide running back and eventual BCS National Championship offensive MVP Eddie Lacy (140 yards rushing, 1 TD) capped off a 5-play, 82-yard effort with a 20-yard rushing touchdown. In response Notre Dame’s meager drive of just 8 yards on three plays resulted in a punt.
In becoming the first BCS-era quarterback to lead his team to back-to-back titles as a starter, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron impressed with 20-of-28 passing with 264 yards and four touchdowns. Freshman receiver Amari Cooper played like a veteran finishing with six catches, for 105 yards and one touchdown for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama’s rushing attack led by Lacy and fellow running back T.J. Yeldon (108 yards, 1 TD) totaled 265 yards and two touchdowns against a vaunted Fighting Irish defense that had only given up an average of 92.4 yards rushing and two rushing touchdowns this season.
The Notre Dame ground attack, on the other hand, (averaging 200 yards per game) was grounded by Alabama’s top-ranked defense and held to just 32 yards on 19 carries. The Fighting Irish were held scoreless until well into the third quarter when Alabama allowed a rushing touchdown to quarterback Everett Golson (21-of-36, 270 yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 1 passing touchdown, 1 interception) as well pass from Golson to running back Theo Riddick for a 6-yard score.
Alabama’s 2012 MVP, as voted on by his teammates, middle linebacker CJ Mosley was awarded the BCS National Championship MVP honors for defense last night for his key role in foiling the Notre Dame offense. His Fighting Irish counterpart, All-American Manti Te’o had a very quiet night. Te’o notched only 10 tackles while missing several and was not a factor beyond the line of scrimmage This underwhelming performance may have exposed the Hawaiian’s flaws including his lack physicality and difficulty in taking on and getting off blocks at the next level.
Despite the loss and broken Fighting Irish hearts everywhere, Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly is not defeated. He can see, beyond the score and above his team’s shortcomings in its failed run for a National Championship, a rainbow that may lead to elusive Fighting Irish pot of gold; A BCS National Championship.
“We’ve got to get physically stronger, continue to close the gap there,” Kelly said. “And just overall you need to see what it looks like. Our guys clearly know what it looks like. When I say, ‘know what it looks like,’ a championship football team. They’re back-to-back national champs. So that’s what it looks like. Measure yourself against that, and I think it was pretty clear across the board what we have to do.”