Originally written January 08, 2013 on Fox Sports South:
Mississippi-state-bulldogs
Seven straight. A run unlike any college football has ever seen continued as Alabamas Nick Saban held aloft the crystal football, giving the SEC another championship and the Crimson Tides second in a row and third in four years. Second-ranked 'Bama dominated No. 1 Notre Dame from the get-go, rumbling 82 yards, capped by Offensive MVP Eddie Lacys 20-yard touchdown run en route to a 42-14 romp in Miami. Here, a look at the nights best and worst as we grade the BCS Championship Game. ALABAMA Offense Quarterback: While Brent Musburger was ogling his girlfriend in the stands McCarron delivered on the field, going 20 of 28 for 264 yards and four touchdowns. A year after coming up big in the title game against LSU, McCarron was cool, calm and efficient as ever. Grade: A Running backs: It wasnt the 350 yards the Tide rumbled to in the SEC title game, but Lacy had 140 yards and a TD and caught another score and T.J. Yeldon ran for 108 yards and a touchdown. This came against an Irish defense that was allowing 92.4 yards on the ground coming in. Grade: A Receivers: Amari Cooper showed hes ready to be among the nations elite pass-catches with six receptions for 105 yards and two scores against an Irish secondary that was simply overmatched. Tight end Michael Williams also reached the end zone. Grade: A O-line: The finale for All-Americans Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack, and potentially D.J. Fluker, lived up to the billing as they manhandled an Irish defense that came in allowing 286.8 ypg, helping 'Bama to 309 yards by halftime and a whopping 529 in all. Grade: A Defense D-line: The Tide have had their troubles against mobile quarterbacks but the front managed to keep pressure on Irish QB Everett Golson, who did provide two scoreds but was 2-of-8 on third downs. Grade: A Linebackers: C.J. Mosley was named defensive MVP with eight tackles, including five solo and one for loss as 'Bama held the Irish to 32 yards on 19 carries. Grade: A Secondary: Dee Milliner tipped a pass that was intercepted by HaHa Clinton-Dix but WRs Davaris Daniels and TJ Jones had their success against whats been 'Bamas weak spot all season and the had trouble matchup with tight end Tyler Eifert. Grade: B- Special teams: Cody Mandell punted averaged 49.3 yards on four punts and Jeremy Shelley hit on all six of his extra point attempts. Christion Jones didnt do much in the return game but bad field position didnt hurt the Tide. Grade: B Coaching: Bear Bryant, Frank Leahy, John McKay and now Saban. He became the fourth coach to win a fourth national title, with his third at Alabama to go along with the one he won at LSU in 03. As I recently wrote, Saban has earned a place along side the Bear as the greatest coaches in the programs history. Grade: A NOTRE DAME Offense Quarterback: Golson made strides in helping the Irish get to Miami and he had his moments against the nations top-ranked defense, throwing for 270 yards, a TD and an interception and he ran for another TD but much of that came with the game out of hand. Grade: C Running backs: With the Irish playing from behind Theo Riddick (10 carries) and Cierre Wood (four carries), the strength of the offense didnt many chances but when they did they were largely ineffective save for Riddicks 20-yard run in the second quarter. Grade: D Receivers: The real bright spots for the Irish, Daniels had six receptions for 115 yards, Jones had seven for 90 yards and Eifert was again strong (six receptions for 61 yards) in which should be his Irish send-off. Hard to fault this group for much except for not getting in the end zone. Grade: A- Defense Line: For all the talent along the Irishs front they just couldnt hang with Alabamas vaunted offensive line. The 265 yards the Irish allowed on the ground was more than they allowed in any two-game stretch in the regular season. Grade: F Linebackers: Manti Teo had 103 tackles and was a Heisman Trophy finalist but after missing two tackles the entire season he had three in the first half, struggling to get a grip on Lacy and Yeldon. The heart and soul of this D, Teo looked off his game all night. Grade: F Secondary: A group that includes two converted WRs and an ex-RB was exposed as the Tide running game opened up the play-action pass and McCarron carved them apart. This group got by for most of the season because the front seven could stop the run. Its luck ran out. Grade: F Special teams: A recovery of a bobbled punt return with Alabama up 7-0 could have given the Irish life. Instead, they were flagged for interference. They get a pass there, but Notre Dame had just one possession that started beyond their own 20, including one at the 8 and one on the 4-yard-line. Grade: D Coaching: In his third season Brian Kelly took a team that opened the season unranked to the national title game. He thrived in close games but on the biggest stage things simply got out of hand. You have to wonder what this kind of a setback on a monumental stage will do to the consensus that the Irish are back. Grade: C
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