Notre Dame came in as the third largest underdog in BCS history, with a 10 point spread. However, the game was expected to be a defensive struggle as Notre Dame and Alabama were the top two teams in the country in points allowed per game. Alabama had only given up 10.7 points per game while Notre Dame had allowed only 10.3 points per game.
Notre Dame's defense struggled against the run throughout the night, which allowed Alabama to be effective with the play action passing game.
Alabama benefited from experience and came out ready to play. On the other hand, the Irish started slow and never caught up.
Notre Dame linebacker and Heisman runner-up Manti Te'o did not have a great game, missing more tackles in the first half than he had all season.
The Crimson Tide scored on drives of 82 yards, 61 yards and 80 yards on their first three drives and added another score on a 71 yard drive with 31 seconds remaining in the first half. The Alabama defense forced Notre Dame to punt four times and turn the ball over on downs once on its first five drives.
The Irish started the second half with the ball, but the possession ended with an interception on the Alabama three yard line. The Crimson Tide carried their momentum into the second half, scoring on their longest two drives of the game with a 97 yard drive and an 86 yard drive.
Notre Dame finally got going on offense with 7:34 left in the fourth quarter by stringing together consecutive scoring drives, but it was too little too late.
A quick look at the numbers will highlight the discrepancies. Alabama rushed for 265 yards while holding the Irish to only 32 yards on the ground. The Crimson Tide totaled 529 yards of offense, and Notre Dame only tallied 302 yards. Alabama did not commit any turnovers and scored a touchdown following Notre Dame's one turnover.
Alabama's junior quarterback A.J. McCarron had a huge night, completing 20 of 28 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns. Alabama had two running backs with over 100 yards. Eddie Lacy rushed for 140 yards on 20 carries, and T.J. Yeldon ran for 108 on 21 carries. Both backs scored one rushing touchdown while Lacy added one receiving touchdown. Amari Cooper led the Alabama receivers with 105 yards and two touchdowns on six catches.
Notre Dame's freshman quarterback Everett Golson finished the night completing 21 out of 36 passes for 270 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Golson also scored one rushing touchdown. Running back Theo Riddick had only 37 yards on 10 carries.
The victory gives Alabama its third BCS national title in four years. An SEC team has won the national championship seven years in a row. McCarron became the first quarterback to win back-to-back BCS titles. Alabama coach Nick Saban became the fourth coach to win four or more national championships.
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