When: Monday, Jan. 7, 8:30 p.m.
Where: Sun Life Stadium (BCS Championship)
It was a Saturday evening in November when the Alabama Crimson Tide walked off of their home field with a loss to Texas A & M. They were vulnerable, and their team was in serious trouble. One week prior, Alabama escaped LSU with a last minute touchdown, but they weren’t able to make the winning play against the Aggies.
However, an SEC loss is never as damaging as it seems. After Oregon and Kansas State lost the next week, Alabama was right back in the hunt for the BCS title game. They finished off the season strong, and then they played in an epic SEC championship game against Georgia.
One year after getting into the BCS title game without appearing in the conference title match up, Alabama earned their bid by winning.
The Alabama offense averages 38 points per game, and they use a very balanced attack. Starting quarterback, A.J. McCarron has thrown 26 touchdowns and only three interceptions. McCarron completed 66 percent of his passes this season. Alabama uses the play action passing game as well as any team.
The Crimson Tide running game can be dominant at times. They only average 224 yards rushing per game, but they display a physical style. Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon both rushed for over 1000 yards. They each averaged over six yards per carry and combined for 27 rushing touchdowns. These running backs will test Notre Dame’s linebackers and defensive backs. Both backs are very capable pass receivers, and Notre Dame must be aware of this all game long.
The receivers are led by Amari Cooper’s big play ability. Cooper has great hands, and leaping ability. Alabama will spread the ball around to the other receivers as well. If Alabama wins the outside match up, that means they are probably winning at the line of scrimmage. There will be times that the receivers will have a one on one opportunity to make plays.
Alabama has the number one ranked defense in the nation. They give up 10.6 points per game, but they’ve sandwiched their two worst games around two shutouts.
The defense garnered 17 interceptions this season. They must get pressure up front to slow down the running game from Notre Dame. As long as they can fill gaps, and tackle well, the defense should be able to handle the Irish. Alabama’s defensive front has to dominate, but more importantly, they can’t give away big plays.
Although Notre Dame’s offense has been better as of late, they still struggle to put together long scoring drives.
Alabama must be wary of spread formations and plays. Brian Kelly is used to coaching an up tempo offense, so Notre Dame may shake things up for the game.
Alabama’s defensive front must contain Everett Golson like they were playing Denard Robinson. They must also sack him when they get the chance. If they can’t make the plays that are available, Notre Dame will win the time of possession battle.
If you liked this article please follow the updates on Twitter.