MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — And the Crimson Tide just keeps rolling on.
Alabama dominated Notre Dame on Monday night to win its third BCS national championship in the last four years.
Entering the game No. 2 in the rankings, the Tide scored on its first three possessions and never let up in crushing the No. 1 Irish 42-14 before a packed house of 80,120 in Sun Life Stadium and a national television audience.
Alabama led 35-0 before the Irish managed to score their first touchdown late in the third quarter. The Tide answered with a 14-play, 86-yard touchdown drive.
The Irish then tacked on their second touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter to keep the Tide from challenging USC’s 55-19 bashing of Oklahoma in 2004 as the biggest rout in 15 championship games during the BCS era.
Alabama finished the season with a 13-1 record. Notre Dame ended 12-1.
Junior running back Eddie Lacy, one of two 1,000-yard rushers for the Tide in the regular season, earned offensive MVP honors after rushing for 140 yards on 20 carries.
Alabama’s other top running back, freshman T.J. Yeldon, finished with 108 yards on 21 rushes as the Tide gained 264 of their 529 total yards on the ground.
The first break of the game came early.
After Alabama drove 82 yards for a touchdown on its first possession, Notre Dame was forced to punt on the ensuing drive.
Alabama’s Christion Jones muffed the punt, but Notre Dame’s recovery was nullified by a penalty on Matthias Farley for kick-catch interference.
Instead of Notre Dame taking over at Alabama’s 24-yard line, it was first-and-10 Tide at its own 39. The Tide then proceeded to drive 61 yards in 10 plays for its second touchdown on AJ McCarron’s 3-yard pass to tight end Michael Williams on first-and-goal.
Alabama seemingly had another golden scoring opportunity on the next series when the Tide recovered a fumble at the Irish 28-yard line. However, after a booth review, Irish tight end Tyler Eifert was ruled down before losing the ball.
Not that it made a lot of difference.
Alabama’s defense forced another Irish punt, and the Tide proceeded to score on its third consecutive possession.
By the time the first quarter ended, the Tide had outgained the Irish 202-23 yards in total offense and was sitting at the Notre Dame 1-yard line.
The Tide scored on the first play of the second quarter on Yeldon’s dash over right tackle, then added a fourth touchdown with just 31 seconds remaining in the first half on McCarron’s pass to Lacy, who spun around a couple of potential tacklers to complete the 11-yard play.
Lacy, who opened the scoring with a 20-yard run, finished the half with 96 yards on 12 carries.
NOTES: Alabama’s three national titles over four seasons is the most successful championship run since Nebraska earned championships in 1994, ’95 and ’97. The Cornhuskers shared the 1997 crown with Michigan. … Alabama’s back-to-back titles are the first for the Tide outright since it won the 1964 and ’65 crowns and first by any team since Nebraska in 1994 and ’95. The Tide was the consensus choice for No. 1 in 1979 after sharing the top spot in the 1978 poll with USC. … The SEC claimed its seventh consecutive title. Florida was the national champ in 2006, LSU in 2007, Florida again in 2008, Alabama in 2009, Auburn in 2010, and Alabama in 2011 and now 2012. … Alabama finished the first half with 153 yards rushing, over 60 more than the average Notre Dame allowed per game in the regular season. … Alabama’s rushing yardage also exceeded what the Irish managed in total yardage over the first two periods. Notre Dame had 93 total yards at the break, with 77 coming in the second quarter. … When the Irish finally scored, they ended the Tide’s streak of shutout football in national championship play at 108 minutes, 7 seconds (6:15 vs. Texas in 2009, 60 vs. LSU last year, and 41:52 vs. Notre Dame).