|Eddie Williams celebrates another Alabama National Championship. (US Presswire)|
Using its trademark smash mouth running attack and swarming defense, Alabama defeated Notre Dame 42-14 in Monday night's BCS National Championship Game. The Crimson Tide captured the national title in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1979.
Alabama RB Eddie Lacy, the game's Offensive MVP, rushed for 140 yards and scored two touchdowns. Crimson Tide QB AJ McCarron threw for 264 yards and 4 TDs. Two of McCarron's touchdowns went to WR Amari Cooper, who finished with six catches for 105 yards. On defense, Alabama held Notre Dame to 32 rushing yards.
Here's a recap of CBSSports.com's In-Game Blog.
11:53 ET -- Alabama C Barrett Jones on playing through his injured ankle: "You couldn't have pulled me off this field with a tractor," Jones told ESPN Radio.
11:52 ET -- McCarron on how the win compares with last year's victory over LSU: "It's basically the same because we came out on top," McCarron told ESPN Radio. "(Our receivers) made tough catches. We had some check downs that really went for big plays."
11:49 ET -- Alabama RB Eddie Lacy named Offensive MVP; Crimson Tide LB C.J. Mosley named Defensive MVP. "I guess we can use the dynasty word now," Lacy told ESPN Radio.
11:46 ET -- Alabama defeats Notre Dame 42-14 to win its third national title in four seasons. "The legacy of this team was going to be how they played in this game," Alabama coach Nick Saban told ESPN Radio. "I'm really proud of them."
11:39 ET -- Alabama OL Barrett Jones hugged several of his teammates after leaving the game in the final minutes. Jones is minutes away from winning his third national championship. It's difficult to name another offensive lineman in college football history that has accomplished the feat while playing three different positions, as Jones has.
11:35 ET -- How does Alabama's stifling run defense in their last two BCS National Championship Game appearances compare to the last time the Crimson Tide won consecutive national titles? In the 1978 Sugar Bowl, the Crimson Tide surrendered 160 yards on the ground but dominated Ohio State in a 35-6 win. A year later, Alabama edged Penn State 14-7 in the 1979 Sugar Bowl. The Nittany Lions gained only 19 rushing yards on 38 carries. Alabama capped the win when former LB Barry Krauss stopped former Penn State TB Mike Guman on the 1-yard line during a pulsating goaline stand.
11:22 ET -- Irish RB Riddick scores on a 6-yard touchdown reception. Alabama leads 42-14 at the 7:51 mark of the fourth quarter.
11:16 ET -- Where does AJ McCarron rank in the annals of Alabama's storied history after his stellar performance on Monday night? At the 11 minute mark of the fourth quarter, McCarron is 20 of 27 for 264 yards and 4 TDs. At this point, McCarron has a remarkable 70.4 completion percentage (43 of 61) in BCS National Championship Games. He went 23 of 34 for 234 yards last year vs. LSU.
11:09 ET -- McCarron hits Cooper on a slant across the middle for a 19-yard touchdown. Alabama leads 42-7 at the 11:27 mark of the fourth quarter.
11:06 ET -- Alabama held Notre Dame to 37 rushing yards on 14 carries through three quarters. In Alabama's last 11 quarters in BCS National Championship Games, its run defense has been historically dominant. Last season, LSU rushed for 39 yards on 27 carries against the Crimson Tide. In 2009, Texas gained 81 rushing yards against Alabama on 28 carries. In total, the three opponents amassed 157 rushing yards on 69 carries (2.27 ypc).
10:56 ET -- Alabama had held opponents scoreless for a streak of 108 minutes, seven seconds in BCS National Championship Game appearances until Golson's touchdown. During that span, the Crimson Tide outscored its opponents 69-0.
10:49 ET -- Golson with a 2-yard touchdown run for Notre Dame's first score of the game. Alabama leads 35-7 at the 4:08 mark of the third quarter. Kelly might have made the right decision by keeping Golson in the game.
10:45 ET -- At the 5:20 mark of the third quarter, Alabama has 191 rushing yards on 30 carries (6.4 ypc). Since the start of the 2008 season, Alabama is 49-0 when it rushes for at least 150 yards.
10:41 ET -- Cooper's touchdown is his 10th of the season. The mark ties him with former Alabama WR Al Lary (1950) for most touchdown receptions by a Crimson Tide WR in a single-season.
10:39 ET -- A 34-yard touchdown catch by Cooper gives Alabama a 35-0 lead at the 7:34 mark. Notre Dame LB Dan Fox was the closest defender in the vicinity of the play -- Fox appeared to be beaten by at least eight yards.
10:36 ET -- Halftime quote from Nick Saban: "We're controlling the line of scrimmage. Were running the ball and we've got good balance. Defensively we're doing a pretty good job. They've hit a couple plays on us but we've just got to play 60 minutes in the game. This game's not over and our players got to understand that."
10:33 ET -- Bama DB Clinton-Dix with an interception early in the third quarter on Golson pass intended for Daniels. Should Kelly replace Golson with Rees? The Irish backup quarterback has spent most of the current series sitting on the bench.
10:27 ET -- Daniels with a nice grab on a back shoulder fade early in the third quarter. Even with an Irish loss, a strong performance by Daniels could be invaluable for the sophomore wideout for next season.
10:19 ET -- Alabama held Notre Dame to 31 rushing yards (3.4 ypc) in the first half. The Crimson Tide have only allowed six points in the first halves of their last three BCS National Championship Game appearances. In their last six quarters, Alabama has outscored its opponents 49-0.
10:00 ET -- Alabama leads Notre Dame 28-0 at halftime.
9:55 ET -- Bama WR Jones makes a 27-yard grab on a corner route to set up an 11-yard touchdown catch by Lacy. Alabama leads 28-0 with 0:26 left in the first half. The rout is on.
9:52 ET -- Notre Dame DL Kapron Lewis-Moore limps off the field with an apparent lower leg injury. It could be a major loss for the Irish.
9:49 ET -- Golson faced intense pressure on three consecutive attempts on a late second quarter drive that ended in a sack by Alabama LB Adrian Hubbard. If the Irish can't score on the next several possessions, the Crimson Tide front seven will be able to pin their ears back for the rest of the game.
9:42 ET -- Bama WR Cooper came inches away from hauling in a deep pass from McCarron on a third down midway through the second quarter. Cooper beat both Notre Dame safeties on the play. On the ensuing play, Notre Dame WR Neal inexplicably fielded a punt that provided the Irish with horrible field position inside their own 5.
9:38 ET -- Alabama DL Quinton Dial had a massive hit on Notre Dame RB Theo Riddick that resulted in a 2-yard loss on the Irish previous drive on offense. In the SEC Championship, Dial leveled Aaron Murray after a second quarter interception by the Georgia quarterback. Dial avoided punishment from the conference following the game.
9:28 ET -- In Brian Kelly's final season at Cincinnati, the Bearcats clinched the Big East regular season title after rallying from a 21-point first half deficit. The 45-44 victory, however, came against a Pitt team that already had three losses on the season. Pitt ended the season ranked 23rd in FBS in total defense. Kelly is facing a much tougher task on Monday night.
9:22 ET -- Sprawling 31-yard catch for Notre Dame WR Daniels early in the second quarter. It's an encouraging sign for Daniels in his first game since suffering a broken collarbone vs. Boston College. The Irish are unable to convert on 4th down several plays later, though, as a deep pass from Golson to Jones fell incomplete. Golson had to be precise with his fade down the right sidelines as Bama CB Deion Belue had blanket coverage on Jones.
9:15 ET -- Alabama increases its lead to 21-0 on a 1-yard run by T.J. Yeldon on the first play of the second quarter. The Crimson Tide have already rushed for two touchdowns against an Irish defense that only allowed two rushing touchdowns entering Monday's game. In 34 previous games, Notre Dame surrendered touchdowns to opposing running backs just five times.
9:10 ET -- Cooper with a sharp cut back to gain several extra yards on an 11-yard catch for a first down. The Crimson Tide star wideout had been relatively quiet until that point, but it hasn't mattered as McCarron has done a fantastic job of spreading the ball. Cooper then follows it up with a 27-yard catch on an out route over Notre Dame S Motta.
9:06 ET -- Alabama RB Lacy already has 72 yards on just eight carries. Lacy has received several massive gaps from Bama LG Chance Warmack. Notre Dame has only allowed 100 rushing yards or more four times this season.
9:01 ET -- Play reversed, Eifert ruled down. Possible turning point?
9:00 ET -- Alabama S Lester does his best Charles Tillman impression by reaching in to wrestle the ball away from Eifert and force a fumble. Play under review. It is getting ugly quickly for Notre Dame.
8:54 ET -- Alabama takes a 14-0 lead after a 3-yard pass from McCarron to TE Williams off play action. Irish S Zeke Motta wasn't close to Williams on the touchdown.
8:48 ET -- First down for Alabama despite apparent fumble by Jones. Notre Dame has already been whistled for three penalties at the 10:12 mark of the first quarter.
8:44 ET -- Two nearly identical plays on passes intended for Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert down the left sideline. The first was ruled incomplete, the second is under review. Despite Bama DB Dee Milliner's size and ranginess (6-1, 199) Kelly hasn't been shy about targeting Eifert.
8:41 ET -- Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o wasn't blocked on Lacy's touchdown, overran the play and missed a tackle. It hasn't happened much for Te'o this season or throughout his Notre Dame career for that matter.
8:37 ET -- Alabama takes the lead on a 20-yard touchdown run by RB Eddie Lacy up the middle. It marks the first time this season Notre Dame has allowed a touchdown in the first quarter. Before Monday's game the Irish had allowed just nine first quarter points on field goals by Oklahoma, Miami (Fla.) and Pittsburgh.
8:35 ET -- Troubling sign for Notre Dame, as Alabama TE Michael Williams snags a 29-yard catch over CB Bennett Jackson off a play action fake. If the Crimson Tide can push the ball downfield it may prevent the Irish from placing eight and nine men in the box.
8:24 ET -- A thought on Notre Dame as the Irish enter the field. In a pregame press conference, coach Brian Kelly told reporters that he thinks the team that makes the most mistakes will lose the game. Still, Kelly wants his players to remain aggressive. Kelly has often borrowed a line John Wooden used with his UCLA national title teams in efforts to instill an agressive mentality in his players. "If you're going to sit back and hope that it's going to come your way, you're going to miss," Wooden used to say. "This is one of those games where you have to be aggressive, and you're going to make a mistake," Kelly said. "I'm not talking about catastrophic mistakes, throwing picks for touchdowns, but you may make a mistake here."
8:23 ET -- A thought on Alabama as the Crimson Tide enter the field. In the days leading up to the game Nick Saban showed his players a video featuring Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera. In the video, Rivera talks about the perils of perfectionism and how it marred the early parts of his career. When Rivera runs onto the field, though, he emphasized how he's able to block out external factors and focus solely on getting three outs. "The way you'd like to perform and you want to perform is to stay focused on the present-moment things that will affect your performance and to stay in the right sort of disposition that way," Saban said.
8:03 ET -- Rushing yards could be tough to come by for both teams. Alabama, the nation's top run defense, has allowed just 1,037 rushing yards this season. Notre Dame, which is ranked second in FBS, has only surrendered 1,109. In 2009, the last time Sun Life Stadium hosted the BCS National Championship Game, both teams were also stout against the run. Florida and Oklahoma both entered the championship ranked in the top 20 in run defense.
7:21 ET -- Actor Martin Short is at Sun Life Stadium for Monday's game. Short's sons -- Henry and Oliver -- both attended Notre Dame. When asked if he had a pregame message for the Notre Dame players, Short jokingly told UND.com, "I would tell them to breathe in and breathe out, it's just a game -- but if you lose it no one will speak to you again."