Chicago Colleges: Christion Jones

Instant analysis: Alabama 42, ND 14

January, 7, 2013

MIAMI -- Alabama became the first team to repeat as BCS champions, as the Tide rolled through Notre Dame on Monday night, 42-14, to win the Discover BCS National Championship, their third title in four years. Here is how it went down.

It was over when: Following a three-and-out from Notre Dame, officials blew a call on Alabama's punt return, ruling that Christion Jones was hit by an Irish player. He was hit by a teammate. Instead of an Irish fumble recovery and some early momentum, the Tide marched down the field for a 14-0 lead and never looked back.

Gameball goes to: The offensive line paved the way for Alabama's run game and protected AJ McCarron all night. Alabama scored touchdowns on its first three drives and made it look easy, taking any chance away from the Irish early. This was an historic group.

Stat of the game: The longest drive against Notre Dame in the regular season was 75 yards. On Monday, Alabama had drives of 82, 80, 97 and 86 yards.

Best call: We'll change this to worst call: The Jones fumble that wasn't. It looked like a pivotal play at the time and ended up not mattering in the grand scheme of things, but it was an awful, awful call.

Second guessing: Not to take away from Alabama's defense, but Notre Dame's No. 1 scoring defense look disheveled throughout the night, missing tackles left and right, blowing assignments and getting the ball taken to it all night.

What Alabama learned: The Tide are a dynasty. No ifs, ands or buts about it. Nick Saban has his third national title in four years, and his fourth overall. The scary part? Alabama may be even better next year.

What Notre Dame learned: Everyone who said the Irish were lucky to be here feels a little validated. It was an historic season by almost any measure for Notre Dame, but one has to wonder just how far this program is from being the best of the best after a demoralizing Monday night.

Demoralizing first half for Irish

January, 7, 2013
MIAMI -- Notre Dame is down 28-0 to Alabama at halftime. The "S-E-C!" chants are out. And -- something that I find worse than anything else -- fifth-year senior captain Kapron Lewis-Moore had to be helped off the field after suffering what looked like a very painful right-knee injury.

It is ugly, and there is no sign of letting up.

Yes, possibly the worst call in national title-game history happened on the game's first punt, when Notre Dame recovered a Christion Jones fumble and the officials threw an illegal contact flag even though it was another Tide player who bumped into Jones. But there is no mistaking that Alabama is taking it right to Notre Dame, from T.J. Yeldon turning a Manti Te'o missed backfield tackle into a 10-yard gain, to Eddie Lacy tossing Danny Spond aside and getting a five-yard rush.

Notre Dame's defense was supposed to give it a chance. It surrendered just more than 10 points per game this season, the best in the nation. Instead it surrendered touchdowns on the game's first three drives, and the offense has not done much to keep it off the field.

Alabama is outgaining Notre Dame 309-124. The Tide have 153 rushing yards to the Irish's 31. They have dominated time of possession, holding it for 19 minutes, 46 seconds of the first half. They have held Notre Dame to 0-for-5 on third downs. The Irish have three penalties, too.

Notre Dame's improbable run to this night began with an unranked squad facing issues on both sides of the ball with a daunting slate ahead.

It will take something far more improbable during these next 30 minutes if the Irish wish to give themselves a chance in this Discover BCS National Championship.



Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12