After 15 minutes the Irish were out-gained 202 to 23 and after the first play of the second quarter trailed the defending champions 21-0, and surrendered two scoring drives of at least 80 yards. Nick Saban knew the strength of his team was his offensive line which could potentially feature three selected in the first round of the NFL draft in April and ran the ball down the throats of vaunted Irish defense.
Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon combined for three touchdowns and quarterback AJ McCarron was the model of efficiency as the Crimson Tide repeatedly marched up and down the field on Manti Te’o and the top-ranked scoring defense. The Irish defense looked sloppy and confused and may have had more missed tackles tonight in the first half alone as they did the entire regular season.
Lacy entered the title game with a tough decision to make about his future and said the decision to go pro would rest with his parents. After watching their son run roughshod over the Irish in the first half could be all the convincing they need to tell their son that it’s time to go pro.
The first half very much looked like what I had expected to see heading into this contest. Alabama is in this game for the third time in four years and these players and coaches are accustomed to the bright lights and pressure that accompanies this grand stage.
Conversely, Notre Dame and quarterback Everett Golson looked shell-shocked and unable to handle the pressure of the situation. In his defense he is a redshirt freshman and if you give Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart five weeks to prepare for an opponent, you’re going to be in trouble. I did not expect Notre Dame to give up as many points in the first half (28) than they had in any single game all season though.
A shocking statistic that tells me this game is over. Blame the referees for questionable calls on the Tyler Eifert reception and the fair catch signal all you want, but the defense couldn’t stop Alabama and Lacy as the Tide got rolling early and didn’t waver.
The Fighting Irish had a fantastic season and one that energized the fan base and currently has the top-ranked recruiting class coming to South Bend, but after 30 minutes it appears tonight was not their night as the SEC looks to capture an unprecedented seventh consecutive BCS Championship.
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