MIAMI — Alabama’s numbers were staggering.
And because of the Crimson Tide’s prowess, Notre Dame was left staggering, too.
Bama was nearly equal on offense — 265 rushing yards, 264 passing.
Quarterback AJ McCarron was 20 of 28 and four touchdowns.
But the most brutal of the overwhelming barrage of Bama offensive figures were four — count ‘em, four — scoring drives of 80 yards or more, including a gut-punch of a 97-yarder. All six of the Tide’s scoring marches went 60+ yards.
That’s how Bama got itself a 35-0 lead and a walk-away 42-14 BCS Championship game win.
For its season, Notre Dame’s defense had allowed two drives of 60-or-more yards in 12 games.
“We tried to impose our will for 60 minutes. We wanted to start fast and we came out hot,” said Alabama tight end Michael Williams. “Things started rolling. They fought the whole game. But we were relentless.”
And once the floodgates started to open, it didn’t leave a lot of fight in the Fighting Irish.
“You always think you’re fighting to have a chance. I think the second half, when we kind of got down and buried,” said tackle Zack Martin.
The diagnosis for Alabama’s domination is obvious. There’s a cure waiting — in the weight room.
“We’ve got to get physically stronger, continue to close the gap (between Bama and Notre Dame) and just over all you need to see what it looks like,” coach Brian Kelly said. “Our guys clearly know what it looks like.
“When I say, ‘Know what it looks like,’ a championship team. They’re back-to-back champs. So that’s what it looks like. Measure yourself against that and I think it’s pretty clear across the board what we have to do.”
Television replays appeared to show Notre Dame should have, A) not been flagged for a first-quarter penalty for interfering with an Alabama punt returner fielding the ball; and B) been awarded the ball when Zeke Motta popped out of scrum with the muff.
The fair-catch call — or lackthereof — was hardly a deciding factor in Notre Dame’s loss, but it was one of many factors which went the wrong way for the Irish.
“Said we ran into a fair catch. What I disputed was the validity of the fair catch. I thought it was an invalid fair-catch signal,” Kelly said. “That would have been a nice play to go our way early in the game.”
Notre Dame’s loss to Bama dropped the Irish to No.4 in the final Associated Press rankings. The Crimson Tide, Oregon and Ohio State, which finished unbeaten, but did not play in a bowl because of NCAA sanctions, went 1-2-3.