The Discover BCS National Championship turned into an exhibition game as the Alabama Crimson Tide rolled to a second-straight national title with a 42-14 drubbing of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The way was paved by a phenomenal effort by the front five of the Tide offensive line, who imposed their will on a talented Irish defense like nobody had been able to do all year.
Coming into the game, the title game was billed as “strength vs strength” as Alabama’s talented offensive line went up against the dominant front seven of Notre Dame. What transpired was as dominant a performance as any that we’ve seen, especially with a national title on the line.
The Notre Dame front of Louis Nix III, Stephon Tuitt, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Danny Spond, Prince Shembo, Dan Fox and their leader Manti Te’o were among the very best in all of college football this season. They had been tough on running games all year and had harassed their fair share of quarterbacks on their way to a perfect 12-0 regular season. They entered the game as the No. 1 scoring defense in the country, giving up just 10.33 points per game.
But they had no answer for the physical play of the Alabama offensive line. Center Barrett Jones, playing for his third ring at his third different position while playing on one foot, was a field general all night long, leading his group right over the top of the Notre Dame defense. All-American guard Chance Warmack bulled over defenders all night long, opening up gigantic holes for the Alabama running game. Left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio cleared out the Irish 3-4 defense at will as the Tide continued to run behind him with success.
On the night, Alabama finished with 529 yards of offense, including 265 yards on the ground. Both Alabama running backs, Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon, finished with over 100 yards on the ground. Lacy finished with 140 yards and a touchdown, including 98 in a dominant first half, and Yeldon gained 108 yards with another touchdown. They ran with purpose, breaking tackles and consistently getting into the second level thanks to the physicality of the guys in front of them.
Leading up to the game, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said he thought that game would be decided by what happens up front. He turned out to be right but was on the wrong end of it in a big way. While many may argue that there were no dominant teams in college football this season, not even the BCS National Champion Crimson Tide, there were dominant units. No unit was as dominant, though, as this Alabama offensive line as they led the way to another title for Nick Saban and the Alabama faithful.