MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — After a week of practice, Alabama center Barrett Jones started as expected Monday night in the BCS National Championship Game.
According to CBSsports.com, Jones received a cortisone shot on his injured left foot. CBSsports.com attributed it to a team source.
The Crimson Tide started the same offensive line for all 14 games this season: Jones at center, Chance Warmack and Anthony Steen at guard, and Cyrus Kouandjio and D.J. Fluker at tackle.
Three title game appearances
Alabama has 21 players who were part of the Crimson Tide’s 2009, 2011 and 2012 national championship teams.
However, only eight appeared in all three games. All-America lineman Barrett Jones leads the list, as he started in all three BCS National Championship Games. He’s the only player left from the starting lineup for Alabama’s 37-21 win over Texas, which clinched the 2009 title.
Safety Robert Lester, linebacker Nico Johnson, place-kicker Jeremy Shelley, defensive end Damion Square, long-snapper Carson Tinker, guard Chance Warmack and tight end Michael Williams make up the rest of the list.
A long streak ends
When AJ McCarron found tight end Michael Williams for a 3-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, McCarron managed something no Tide quarterback has managed in 24 years.
Alabama hadn’t thrown a touchdown pass in a national championship game since Jeff Rutledge did it in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 1979.
Alabama beat Penn State 14-7, and one of its two touchdowns came through the air. Rutledge completed a 30-yard scoring pass to Bruce Bolton with eight seconds left in the first half.
Alabama improved to 49-0 since the start of the 2008 season when rushing for 150 yards or more.
The Crimson Tide hit the 150-yard mark in the second quarter. By halftime, Alabama had 153 yards on only 23 carries.
Tide vs. No. 1
Alabama improved to 6-4 when playing the No. 1-ranked team in The Associated Press poll.
Alabama beat Southern California in 1977, Penn State in the 1979 Sugar Bowl, Miami in the 1993 Sugar Bowl, Florida in the 2009 SEC Championship Game, LSU in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game and, now, Notre Dame in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game.
The Crimson Tide lost to Auburn in 1957, Nebraska in the 1972 Orange Bowl, Oklahoma in 2003 and LSU in 2011.
The temperature at Sun Life Stadium for kickoff was 73 degrees. That’s a bit better than it was for the hometowns of the two teams.
Tuscaloosa was 45 degrees, while South Bend, Ind., was 30.
Scoring on the Irish
It took only a half for Alabama to hang more points on Notre Dame than anybody did this season.
The Crimson Tide’s 28 first-half points beat out Pittsburgh, which lost to the Irish 29-26 in triple overtime.
Notre Dame entered having allowed only 10 touchdowns in 12 games, but the Crimson Tide managed four in the first half. Two of Alabama’s scores came on the ground, which equals how many Notre Dame gave up in its first 12 games.
Eddie Lacy rushed 20 yards for a touchdown on Alabama’s opening drive Monday, and it broke a few BCS National Championship Game trends.
Before Monday night, the team that scored first won only twice in the previous eight BCS title games. Of course, both were Alabama. The Tide beat Texas for the 2009 title and LSU for the 2011 championship.
It also marked the first time a team scored on its opening drive since Ohio State did it against LSU five years earlier.
Lacy’s touchdown was the first allowed
by Notre Dame in the first quarter this
season. The Irish had allowed only nine
first-quarter points before Alabama managed 14.