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Tide rolls to another national title

By RALPH D. RUSSO

AP College Football Writer

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla.—Alabama rolled to its second consecutive BCS championship and third in four seasons, beating No. 1 Notre Dame 42–14 Monday night in a BCS championship game that was no classic after all.

A.J. McCarron threw four touchdown passes and Eddie Lacy ran for 140 yards and scored twice for the second-ranked Crimson Tide, which scored on its first three drives and cruised from there.

Alabama (13–1) became the third team to win three national titles in four seasons since polls started being used to crown champions in 1936, and the first since Nebraska from 1994–97.

Tide coach Nick Saban now has won four national championships. Only Alabama’s Paul “Bear” Bryant, with six, has more.

The Fighting Irish (12–1) didn’t score until they were down 35–0 late in the third quarter.

Notre Dame had allowed only two rushing touchdowns in its surprising run to the championship game. The Fighting Irish were the first team to reach the BCS championship game after starting the season unranked. They were trying to become the first team to go from unranked to national champion since BYU in 1984.

Alabama quickly made the Fighting Irish look as if they were in over their heads.

Notre Dame did nothing to respond to Alabama’s opening march, and on its punt back, the Crimson Tide might have caught a break. Returner Christion Jones muffed the kick, but Notre Dame was flagged for interfering with the catch, though it was one of Jones’ teammates that made contact with him.

Lacy and the Crimson Tide went right back to work, hammering away at Notre Dame’s vaunted defense. The Irish struggled to bring down the 220-pound tailback, who even ran through Heisman Trophy finalist Manti Te’o on a screen pass.

In the second quarter, it was freshman T.J. Yeldon slipping through Te’o’s arms in the backfield on a third-down run and getting a first down.

Lacy set up Alabama’s second touchdown with another 20-yard run, this time to the Irish 2. Instead of running into a Notre Dame defense that has become known for goal-line stands, McCarron faked a handoff and found tight end Michael Williams all alone for the score and a 14–0 lead.

Alabama made it 3 for 3 on the next drive when Yeldon scored from a yard out on the first play of the second quarter.

The Alabama fans seemed outnumbered at Sun Life Stadium by Fighting Irish followers, pumped to see their team try to win its first national title in 24 years. But the folks in Crimson and houndstooth were making all the noise as the Tide rolled.

Lacy landed one more blow with 31 seconds left in the half. McCarron dumped off to Lacy, who spun off two tacklers, and went 11 yards to make it 28–0.

If the game ends up being Lacy’s finale at Alabama, it was a doozie. The junior was slowed early in the season with a nagging ankle injury but finished with three straight 100-yard games, a 99-yarder and 10 touchdowns in the final four games.

Named the game’s outstanding player on offense, Lacy had 72 yards before the first quarter ended against a defense that came in allowing a stingy 92 yards a game on the ground. He capped the opening drive with a 20-yard touchdown.

Alabama dominated with an offensive line that includes three All-Americans—first-teamers Barrett Jones at center and Chance Warmack at left guard, and second-teamer D.J. Fluker at right tackle. They created gaping holes against a team ranked fourth in nation in run defense, and neutralized Heisman Trophy finalist Te’o, who became no factor.

Notre Dame had only five first downs in the half and allowed 309 yards. The Irish defense came in allowing 286 per game.

Notre Dame had allowed only two players to rush for 100 yards, but Lacy finished with 140 and Yeldon added 108. Alabama had 74 yards rushing before Notre Dame attempted a running play.

Notre Dame entered the game with 34 sacks, but McCarron was given plenty of time to throw. He hit eight of his first nine passes.

The Southeastern Conference, winner of the last six BCS championships, was storming toward seven in a row. Those familiar “S-E-C!” chants were ringing through yet another stadium.

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