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. "People talk about how the most difficult thing is to win your first championship," said Alabama coach Nick Saban, whose Tide became the first team since Nebraska in 1994 and '95 to win consecutive titles. "Really the most difficult thing is to win the next one because there's always a feeling of entitlement. "The commitment these guys made two days after playing LSU in last year's national championship game to be a team, to accomplish something of significance is really special." The Tide wasted little time in setting the tone for the evening. 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 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 gaining 140 yards on 20 carries. "I think this is the first time this season we were able to come out and play a complete game," Lacy said. "We've had slow starts at times but were able to come back." Alabama's other top running back, freshman T.J. Yeldon, finished with 108 yards on 21 rushes as the Tide gained 265 of their 529 total yards on the ground. Quarterback AJ McCarron, meanwhile, peppered the Irish defense with 71 percent accuracy, completing 20 of his 28 passes for 264 yards with four touchdowns with no interceptions. "I get chills thinking about it," McCarron said of winning two titles in two years. "All of the thanks to my teammates. They made this possible." After a slow start that saw the Irish managed only 124 total yards in the first half, Notre Dame finished the game with 302 yards. "Alabama was the better team today," Irish coach Brian Kelly said. "They ran the football well. Our strength all year has been playing physical and tackling, and we did not tackle well together. "I give all credit to Alabama. They were the better football team and deserved to win." The Irish's one shot at staying competitive 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. Alabama proceeded to drive 61 yards in 10 plays for its second touchdown on McCarron's 3-yard pass to tight end Michael Williams on first-and-goal. "It would have been a nice play to go our way early in the game," Kelly said. "Obviously, it didn't go our way. But it didn't change the outcome of this football game." 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, pretty much taking the suspense of how the evening would turn out. "Bama was the better team today, and they deserve it," said Irish quarterback Everett Golson, who completed 21 of 36 passes for 270 yards. He threw one touchdown pass and was intercepted once. NOTES: Alabama's three national titles over four seasons is the most successful championship run since Nebraska earned titles in 1994, '95 and '97. The Cornhuskers shared the 1997 crown with Michigan. ... 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).
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