Alabama Football: Grading All 22 Starters from the BCS Championship Game
Well, it certainly didn't take long, did it? Alabama established itself as the best team in the country Monday night, rolling to a 28-0 halftime lead and totally dismantling Notre Dame by a 42-14 score.
After all the hype and speculation, it was clear that Notre Dame had no chance to stop the Tide on this night.
The result is that head coach Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide have won three of the last four national titles and two in a row. The end of Allabama's domination is nowhere in sight.
Here is a look at how the starters graded out in the BCS title game.
A.J. McCarron Grade: A+
McCarron set the tone early for the Tide, completing eight of nine passes for 112 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter. McCarron completed the game 20-of-28 for 264 yards and four touchdowns.
For the second year in a row, the Tide was able to count on McCarron when his detractors doubted him.
His reward? A chance to be the only quarterback in college football history to lead his team to three consecutive national titles when he returns next fall.
Eddie Lacy Grade: A+
T.J. Yeldon Grade: A
Lacy put an end to any thoughts that Alabama would struggle to run on the Irish early on. His 20-yard touchdown run to get the Tide on the scoreboard first was just the beginning.
Lacy ended the night with 140 yards on 20 carries and also had a receiving touchdown, thanks to one of his wicked spin moves.
Yeldon was outshadowed only by Lacy. The freshman played like a seasoned veteran, accounting for 108 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
Between the two, Notre Dame was gassed well before the end of the first half.
Amari Cooper Grade: A
Christion Jones Grade: B-
Kevin Norwood Grade: A
The freshman Cooper looked like the best player on the field at times, racking up 105 yards and two touchdowns on six receptions.
Norwood had two huge catches in the first quarter and forced the Irish to respect him, thus taking away from their ability to double team Cooper. He finished with three catches for 66 yards.
Jones caught two nice passes for 40 yards, but struggled to make good decisions on punt returns. He fumbled one that was fortunately and questionably reversed due to a Notre Dame penalty.
Michael Williams Grade: A
Williams caught the first of McCarron's touchdown passes and totalled three receptions on the night. He did exactly what the coaching staff asked of him week in and week out this year.
Solid blocking and good hands have made him one of the better, and most underrated, tight ends in the SEC.
Cyrus Kouandjio Grade: A-
Chance Warmack Grade: A
Barrett Jones Grade: A
Anthony Steen Grade: A
D.J. Fluker Grade: B+
The offensive line was the key in this game. Alabama ran for 265 yards and averaged just shy of six yards per carry against the vaunted Irish defense.
More impressively, McCarron was not sacked all night and was rarely hurried.
The best offensive line in the nation proved against the Irish why they have earned the title.
A special show of appreciation goes out to senior center Barrett Jones who is not only the heart and soul of this team, but he played the game with torn ligaments in his foot and is scheduled to have surgery tomorrow.
Ed Stinson Grade: A-
Jesse Williams Grade: B
Damion Square Grade: B
Notre Dame came out of the blocks trying to throw the ball. Seemingly, their respect for the Alabama rushing defense was incredibly high.
On the night, Notre Dame ran the ball just 19 times for a total of 32 yards. When they did, the "big uglies" for the Tide were there, and Alabama allowed nothing at all up the middle.
Stinson made one of the more impressive plays of the night, running down Irish tailback Theo Riddick from behind in the first quarter.
Trey DePriest Grade: B
C.J. Mosley Grade: A+
Nico Johnson Grade: B
Adrian Hubbard Grade: B
Like the front line, the Alabama linebackers had to do little more than hold their own Monday night. Notre Dame ran just 57 plays over the course of the game and was forced to go almost exclusively to the pass early on.
Mosley, who gets very little national acclaim, although matching Irish Heisman candidate Manti Te'o stride for stride statistically this year, was awarded the Defensive Player of the Game. He ended the night with eight tackles, five of them solo efforts and one for loss.
Deion Belue Grade: A-
Dee Milliner Grade: A
Robert Lester Grade: B+
HaHa Clinton-Dix Grade: A
Belue has been criticized often this season, but he held his own against the Irish and had a huge deflected pass on a fourth-down play right before the half as Notre Dame was trying to get something going.
Milliner was tested early as he drew Tyler Eifert. Milliner was all over him twice and did everything he could to stop the oversized tight end.
Clinton-Dix came up with the only interception of the night. It came on the opening drive of the third quarter when the Irish came out with some life and heart. The amazing catch captured in the picture above put an end to any hopes of an Irish rally.
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