You'd have never thought that head coach Nick Saban was leading a team that had dominated a football game for three quarters and outscored their opponents 42-14 as he stalked the sidelines of the Fourth Quarter at the BCS National Championship Game in Miami Monday night (Jan. 7), broadcast live on ESPN. No, his intensity belied a comfortable lead, but it was that intensity that charged his ballplayers as the No. 2 ranked (BCS Standings) Alabama Crimson Tide crushed the No. 1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish for their third national championship in four seasons.
Whispers of a dynasty forming in Tuscaloosa became outright statements by the ESPN sportscasters and Brent Mussberger, who called the game, noted that now coach Saban's name could comfortably be used in the same sentence with legendary head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, a team leader that won six national championships as the head coach of the Crimson Tide.
As for the game, it could have been a close one. Statistics said it should have been a close game. But Alabama's defense shut the Irish down in the first half and their offense scored 21 points in just over one quarter of play. By halftime, they went into the locker room with a 28-0 lead.
The Irish's coach, Brian Kelly, honestly made remarks that his defense wasn't making the tackles. When asked what was needed of the Notre Dame team to come back after halftime, Kelly said it would help if the Alabama didn't come back out for the second half.
But if the game had started about halfway through the third quarter, it might have been a game. Notre Dame mounted their first scoring drive, then another. At the same time, Alabama matched them touchdown for touchdown. By then the Crimson Tide, a testament to discipline, began to make a few mistakes. A defensive penalty here, a dropped pass there, and an offense that had only been stopped by the Irish's vaunted defense a couple times all night faltered slightly. Not that it mattered. It was far too late for the Irish to mount any kind of true comeback.
The win marked Alabama's 15th national championship, the most of any FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) team.
Quarterback A. J. McCarron completed 20 of 28 passes for 264 yards while the Tide saw two running backs rush for over 100 yards (Eddie Lacy, 140; T. J. Yeldon, 108). Lacy would go on to become the offensive MVP of the game. C. J. Moseley won the defensive MVP honors, getting in eight tackles and simply playing the entire field, helping his defense keep the Irish to just 32 yards rushing for the game.
The victory marked head coach Nick Saban's fourth national championship. He won his first with LSU in 2003. Saban is the only active head coach to have won national titles with two separate college football programs.
Known for his tough work ethic and never being completely satisfied, Saban was asked at game's end how long he would enjoy the win. He said he lived by the 24-hour rule. In two days he said he would begin preparing for next season.
Alabama's win pushed the SouthEast Conference's domination of the BCS National Championship titles to 9 out of 15. It was also the conference's seventh consecutive victory. For the state of Alabama, it was the fourth year in a row one of their school's held the national title (Auburn won in 2011).