Alabama's thrilling victory over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game earned the Crimson Tide a spot in this January's BCS National Championship Game and provided college football fans with some important takeaways heading into January's championship showdown.
The Crimson Tide's 32-28 win over the Bulldogs highlighted what makes Nick Saban's squad so dominant and also what makes it vulnerable in its upcoming national-title clash with the top-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Here we break down what we learned from Alabama's victory over Georgia.
Lethal Rushing Attack
We knew the Crimson Tide had a fearsome rushing attack coming into Saturday's SEC Championship matchup with Georgia, but after Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon combined to rush for 334 yards and three touchdowns against the Bulldogs, we can officially consider Alabama's two-headed ground attack lethal.
After Saturday's epic performance, the Tide rank 20th in the country in rushing yards per game, averaging over 224 to go along with 35 rushing touchdowns in 13 games in 2012.
Still, don't expect Alabama to run over Notre Dame quite as easily this January. The Fighting Irish rank fourth in the nation against the run and are allowing fewer than 93 rushing yards per game. And no team in college football has given up fewer rushing touchdowns (two) than Notre Dame this year.
Both Lacy and Yeldon will need to be patient and at their bests in the championship game in order to wear out Manti Te'o and Notre Dame's talented front seven.
Although Kirby Smart's pass defense ranks sixth best in the nation in terms of yards allowed (166.2), Alabama's secondary looked incredibly vulnerable on Saturday against Georgia, giving up more than 280 passing yards.
The Tide gave up 8.3 yards per pass attempt by the Bulldogs and surrendered their first touchdown pass since November 10 against Texas A&M.
Fortunately for Alabama, Notre Dame ranks just 75th in the country this season in passing offense, averaging fewer than 219 yards per game through the air. Although both Nick Saban and Kirby Smart will need to address Saturday's mistakes in the secondary before the title game, they should still be expected to keep the Irish to or below their season passing average.
Time of Possession
Alabama possessed the ball for nearly 38 minutes on Saturday vs. Georgia, wearing out the Bulldogs defense to the tune of 512 total yards and 32 points.
Through 13 games the Crimson Tide rank 23rd in the country in time of possession, averaging nearly 32 minutes per game. What's interesting, though, is that Notre Dame ranks 11th in that category, averaging well over 32 minutes of possession per game in 2012.
Therefore, this often-underrated statistic should loom large in this winter's national-championship clash.
If Alabama can keep the Irish offense off the field for long stretches, then they will no doubt come away as repeat champions. Otherwise, the Irish will continue to do what they do best and give the Tide offense limited opportunities to succeed.
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