The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are ramping up to play the Alabama Crimson Tide in a few short weeks, and they will need more than just luck to beat the defending national champions.
These Irish are a talented bunch that reached the apex of their collective talent at the perfect time and deserved to have punched their ticket to the national championship game.
Let’s take a look at which players need to step up in order for the Irish to overcome the opposition on Jan. 7 in Miami, Florida, with the crystal trophy on the line.
Everett Golson, QB
The Irish’s young signal-caller hasn’t exactly been the catalyst for the team’s success in 2012, but he’s going to need to step up in a big way to win a national championship.
Golson is going to have to stretch this Tide defense to its limits and take a number of shots downfield. If he doesn’t, Notre Dame will not have a way to open up the teeth of the defense and will not be able to establish a running game.
If the Irish aren’t able to get anything going on the ground, they simply don’t have a chance to win the title.
As strange as it sounds, that all begins with Golson’s ability to get the ball downfield on pass plays.
Stephon Tuitt, DE
Tuitt is an All-American defensive end that will need to terrorize the stacked ‘Bama offensive line in order to help lead his team to an upset victory.
The Crimson Tide possess one of the beefiest, most skilled O-lines in all of football, with two All-American selections proving that claim.
It’ll be tough, but Tuitt has to get in the backfield to stop Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon from taking off in the running game, and force A.J. McCarron into mistakes and sacks when the quarterback drops back to pass.
Manti Te’o, ILB
Te’o was a Heisman hopeful who had his hopes dashed by Johnny Manziel. If that hasn’t left him with a massive chip on his shoulder, the Irish might as well roll over and give up.
They need Te’o to play at the top of his game and prove to the nation that the voters made the wrong choice when awarding that prestigious trophy. He’s an absolute machine of a tackler and should have his nose in every single play.
Most importantly, Te’o is capable of intercepting passes like a cornerback and needs to come up with at least one for this upset to take place.
Keep your eyes glued to this superstar senior, as his performance will make or break Notre Dame against Alabama in the BCS championship.