MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The coach no longer wears houndstooth, but the result is the same — another Alabama dynasty.
Quieting the Irish by the first play of the second quarter, Eddie Lacy, A.J. McCarron and the No. 2 Crimson Tide rolled over top-ranked Notre Dame, 42-14, for the BCS championship Monday night, locking up a second straight national title and a third in four years with another blowout of a title game.
Bear Bryant would’ve been especially proud of this one — Nick Saban and the Tide romping to the second-biggest rout of the BCS era that began in 1999.
“We’re going for it next year again,” said Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandijo, a sophomore who already owns two championship rings. “And again. And again. And again. I love to win. That’s why I came here.”
Lacy, the game’s offensive MVP, ran for one touchdown
and caught a pass for another in the final minute of the opening half. He spun away from the vaunted Notre Dame defense not once, but twice, to cap a 28-0 blitz before the bands even got on the field.
“They just did what Alabama does,” moaned Manti Te’o, Notre Dame’s star linebacker and Heisman Trophy finalist.
Lacy finished with 140 yards on 20 carries, coming up with two of his best performances in the two biggest games of the year. He rushed for a career-high 181 yards in a thrilling victory over Georgia in the Southeastern Conference title game, and was nearly as dominant against the Irish.
McCarron completed 20 of 28 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns, adding another dazzling effort on top of his MVP performance in last year’s title game.
You could almost hear television sets around the country flipping to other shows, a hugely anticipated matchup between two of the nation’s most storied programs reduced to a second consecutive BCS blowout for the Tide.
“We’ve had a lot of really great football players who’ve worked really hard,” Saban said. “Because we’ve had a great team, we’ve been able to have a significant amount of success.”
Alabama (13-1) scored 69 straight points against its title game foes, going back to the final 13 against Texas in 2010, followed by a 21-0 victory over LSU for last year’s crown, then the first 35 points against Notre Dame. Saban’s team made the Irish (12-1) look like a squad that would be hard-pressed to finish in the middle of the pack in the mighty Southeastern Conference, which has won seven consecutive BCS championships.
Before a record Sun Life Stadium crowd of 80,120 that definitely included more green than crimson, Lacy ran right through Te’o and the Irish for a 20-yard touchdown before the game was 3 minutes old, capping an 82-yard drive that was the longest of the season given up by the Irish.
It would only get worse. Alabama marched right down the field on its second possession, this one a 10-play, 61-yard pounding that finished with McCarron completely faking out the defense and lofting a 3-yard touchdown pass to Michael Williams, standing all alone in the back of the end zone.
On the first play of the second quarter, T.J. Yeldon powered over from the 1 to make it 21-0, the finish to another impressive drive — this one covering 80 yards — that included two long completions by McCarron. First, he went to Kevin Norwood on a 25-yard gain. Then, he hooked up with freshman Amari Cooper for a 27-yard gain to the Notre Dame 6.
By then it was clear to everyone that Notre Dame’s hopes of winning its first national championship since 1988 were done. But Alabama just poured it on.
“We’ve got to get physically stronger just overall, we need to see what it looks like,” said Brian Kelly, the Irish’s third-year coach. “Our guys clearly know what it looks like now — a championship football team. That’s back-to-back national champions. That’s what it looks like.”