The BCS National Champions Game between Notre Dame and Alabama is as big as you can get in College Football, but it’s the little people in key positions that will decide the outcome of the final.
Jesse Williams, NT, Alabama – The entire Alabama front 7 is a walking, breathing problem for anyone who faces them, allowing only 79.7 yards on the ground. Williams, a 6’4, 320 lbs senior nose tackle is probably the main reason this 3-4 defense is such a big problem for opponents, moving much faster than his size suggests.
Adrian Hubbard, LB, Alabama – Alabama don’t have any superstars at Linebacker but have a very talented group, led by Sophomore Adrian Hubbard, finishing the season with 6 sacks and has a very unique combination of strength and speed.
Everett Golson, QB, Notre Dame – The Sophomore quarterback wasn’t asked to do much this season. Just not turn the ball over and exploit the holes he’s given. He finished the season with 2135 yards, completing 58.9% of his passes, throwing 11 touchdowns to 5 interceptions. He also ran for 305 yards, scoring 5 touchdowns. He’ll need to be used a bit more by Kelly in this one in hoping to surprise the very strong Alabama defense.
Theo Riddick, RB/WR, Notre Dame – The Senior out of Manville New Jersey finally got a lot more touches this season, finishing with 880 yards, averaging 4.9 yards per carry. He’s a very dangerous slot receiver, catching 35 passes for 364 yards this season and is very hard to cover in man-to-man.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame – In order for the Irish to exploit the Tide’s defense, they’ll probably be hoping Alabama do what they did most of the season – focus on one receiving play-maker and shut him down. That should leave someone like Eifet open to make plays against a very big group he’s facing on the other side. He caught 44 passes for 624 yards and four touchdowns this season.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama – A breakout season for the Junior running back, who got more touches than in the previous two seasons combined. Lacy ran for 1182 yards and scored 16 touchdowns, averaging 6.4 yards per carry. He saved his best game for the biggest occasion, running for 181 yards against Georgia in the SEC title game.
T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama – A freshman who ran for 1000 yards this season and is a perfect complement to Lacy, showing more speed and explosiveness when he finds a hole to run through. He also had a huge game against Georgia, running for 153 yards.
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama – Another Freshman who doesn’t have any exceptional speed or size (6’1, 198), but has that special second gear when he chases down a deep ball, and despite being a first year player seems to be great in his decision making and his understanding with McCarron. He caught for over 100 yards in three of the final four games.
Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame – The Senior who won almost every possible award after the regular season is the leader of this defense and is great in recognizing breakdowns in the defensive line, reacting quickly to close them. He’s also exceptional in tipping passes and getting interceptions, finishing with 7 this season.
Louis Nix III, NT, Notre Dame – The difficulty to run against Notre Dame (93.3 yards per game) begins with the 6’3, 326 lbs Junior, who needs two players from the offensive line to contain him if holes are to be created.