Three keys for Notre Dame in its matchup with Alabama in the Discover BCS National Championship:
1. Stop the run: Alabama rushed for 350 yards in its SEC title game triumph over Georgia. That won't happen against Notre Dame, which boasts the nation's No. 4 rushing defense (92.42 ypg) and has surrendered just two scores on the ground all year long. But the Tide boast a pair of 1,000-yard backs who are capable of grinding down defenses, and the Irish front seven has to win first down to keep the ground game from getting into a rhythm.
2. Let Everett Golson create: Brian Kelly said no one has benefited from the layoff more than his redshirt freshman signal-caller, and seeing what it is in store from him is the biggest X factor entering the game. Golson has kicked his turnover woes, and he has become much more evasive on the run. Can he handle whatever Nick Saban & Co. have drawn up to attack him? Kelly said his players can't be conservative and hope that the game comes to them.
3. Capitalize on red zone opportunities: Kyle Brindza set Notre Dame's single-season record for field goals this season, making 23 kicks despite not starting Week 1. But a large part of that has been because of the offense's struggles inside the 20. The Irish rank 76th nationally in red zone efficiency and have to score touchdowns when they get chances against the Tide's defense.