Alabama Crimson Tide – A.J. McCarron Loves the Big Games

It wasn’t even close, not for a second, as A.J. McCarron and Alabama dominated their opponents once again in the BCS National Championship game, becoming the first to win it back to back.

Dynasty? That’s a matter of perception. What is clear, is that for a second straight year and a second consecutive BCS final, no one could touch Alabama. Not LSU last season, not Notre Dame this time, who were down 28-0 at half time before Nick Saban eased up on the reigns as the second half was a bit more even, on course to a 42-14 win.

McCarron became the first quarterback to win back-to-back national championships in over 50 years, but it’s hard to attribute the success of the Tide over the past four years to certain players. There are no superstars. There’s just a team with a head coach who has now won four national titles with two different schools, building a pro-like team, with a massive offensive line that makes life for Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon very easy.

Nick Saban joined John McKay (USC) and Frank Leachy (Notre Dame), moving up to second on the all time list for national championships, two behind Paul Bryant who led Alabama to sis between 1961 and 1979. At this pace, with a team this young and probably returning too many starters for the rest of College Football to handle, Saban is going to get to six pretty quickly.

It took Alabama five plays that went over 80 yards and just under three minutes to put the first points on the board, Eddie Lacy scoring on a 20 yard run. All the talk about Notre Dame’s defense was put to bed, as the Tide’s offensive line simply crushed anything in its way. Alabama caught a break and what might have been a fumble return for Notre Dame, instead getting the call going their way (wrong call by the refs) for roughing the punter, and that was it.

A.J. McCarron shined all season with this front line, and that didn’t change against the Irish. He completed 6-of-9 passes thrown 15 yards or longer downfield, including twice to Amari Cooper, finishing with 105 yards on six catches. In the last two title games, McCarron has completed 61.1 percent of his passes of this distance without an interception.

Notre Dame were on pace for the best red zone defense over the last eight seasons, but Alabama scored five touchdowns on all five of its visits to the Irish’s red zone. They simply couldn’t stop the run, as Alabama gained 265 yards through the night. Eddie Lacy, shaping up to be a player who loves prime time games, ran for 140 yards and a touchdown, and finished with 17 more from receptions and another score.

Alabama averaged 6.0 yards per carry and had two touchdowns on runs inside of the tackles. Notre Dame had 32 yards on 13 carries inside of the tackles, with the majority coming on a 20-yard run by Theo Reddick. Everett Golson didn’t do a bad job at quarterback, throwing for 270 yards, a touchdown and an interception, but he just got no help from the running game.

With his four touchdown passes, McCarron became the all time leader in touchdown passes for the school, only one of a few records set by the Tide on another extraordinary final from them, proving once again how far ahead they are from the rest of College Football, and how far the SEC is from the rest of the conferences.

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