Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier made the most of his play calling in the first half, mixing the pass and the run perfectly with few flaws. A quality Notre Dame defense had the play defended correctly at times, but either Eddie Lacy or the speed of Alabama’s receivers turned the play into a plus for the Crimson Tide.
Nussmeier’s mixture, a complaint at times this season, particularly in games at LSU and against Georgia, relied heavily on the run and struck with the pass whenever appropriate, showing an aggressive style that utilized his offensive skill players and kept the Irish off balance.
There was a moment there when you wondered whether special teams coach Bobby Williams was thinking about replacing Christion Jones as a punt returner. Jones had a blocker hit him on a return, causing a fumble where he was rewarded by a penalty that negated the fumble. On his next return, he fielded a bouncing ball as he was leveled by a Notre Dame defender. After that, he was quick to signal for a fair catch. Maybe Williams had seen enough.
1 — First downs by Notre Dame in the first quarter.
2 — Touchdown receptions by Amari Cooper, the first time since the 1966 Orange Bowl (Ray Perkins) that a Tide receiver had more than one touchdown catch in a bowl game during a national championship season. Cooper also broke Julio Jones’ freshman single-season receiving records for reception and yardage.
4 — Touchdown passes by A.J. McCarron in a bowl game that earned the Tide a national championship, breaking the record of two set by Joe Namath and Steve Sloan in the mid-1960s.
14 — Points scored by Alabama in the first quarter, five more than Notre Dame surrendered in the opening quarter of the previous 12 games.
15 — National championships won by Alabama, including BCS titles in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
49 — Wins in 49 games by Alabama since 2008 when rushing for at least 150 yards.
60 — Wins by Alabama in the last five years (in 67 games).
67 — Notre Dame’s touchdown late in the third quarter broke a string of consecutive unanswered points scored by the Tide vs. Texas (2010), LSU (2012) and Notre Dame (2013).