The No. 1 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a chance to rest on their laurels for a few weeks before the 2013 BCS National Championship game takes place.
With the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide set to face the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs, it’s highly likely that one of those two teams will be the Irish’s opponent down in Miami on January 7.
Let’s take a look at some ND players that must step and deliver huge performances when it comes time to take on one of those vaunted SEC teams for all the marbles.
Manti Te’o, LB
Te’o is an absolute machine and a rare full-time defensive player that has a chance to legitimately win the Heisman Trophy.
The senior is the captain of this defense and has proved time and time again that he is one of the best linebackers in the nation, carrying this team to a 12-0 record and being involved, somehow, in nearly every stop on every play.
If he can deliver one last performance for the ages, the Irish have a real shot at pulling out a victory and claiming a national championship.
Everett Golson, QB
The redshirt freshman signal-caller has done everything necessary to lead his team to the Promised Land. He’s made boneheaded mistakes, but also atoned for them with big plays.
Like Alabama’s A.J. McCarron last year, the Irish QB isn’t being called upon to win games, but he may need to when they get to the biggest stage of all.
Golson is a playmaker at heart and has the ability to create something out of nothing, so we will see if coach Brian Kelly unleashes that potential against their foe in January.
Stephon Tuitt, DE
If Notre Dame is going to win this championship, they are going to need to put pressure on the opposing quarterback.
No one does that better on the defense than Tuitt, a bona fide pass rushing stud that recorded 11 sacks on the season and caused chaos in the opposing backfield on a regular basis.
At 6’6”, 303 pounds, the Georgia-native will be instrumental in generating a rush and forcing offensive mistakes. Should he succeed and generate a turnover or two, the Irish will be in a good position to win.