It was supposed to be a colossal clash between two of college footballs giants, a slugfest between the nations two stingiest defenses.
Monday nights BCS National Championship Game played in front of 80,120, the largest crowd in Sun Life Stadium history turned out to be just another coronation for Nick Saban, Alabama and the Southeastern Conference.
Behind Eddie Lacys legs, the Crimson Tide (13-1) pounded and pummeled Notre Dame from start to finish, smacking the previously unbeaten Irish from its No. 1 perch 42-14 to become the first program since Nebraska (1994 to 1997) to win three national titles in four years.
Alabama, which wouldnt talk about repeating all season as per Sabans orders, also became the first school to win back-to-back titles since the Huskers did it 18 years ago.
They repeated so they can talk about it all they want now, said Saban, now among a handful of coaching greats to win four national championships in his career (Alabamas Bear Bryant won six; Minnesotas Bernie Bierman five; and Notre Dames Frank Leahy and Tennessees Robert Neyland each won four).
Whether I look it or not, Im happy as hell.
Saban, who once dreamed of taking the Dolphins to such heights in this same building before bolting for Tuscaloosa six years ago, lifted the prized national championship trophy amid a Crimson Tide celebration when it was finally over. Alabama fans capped it by swaying and singing Sweet Home Alabama as the team trotted off the field.
Sabans team played as complete a game as it had all season.
T.J. Yeldon and Lacy, the freshman-junior duo who became the first pair of 1,000-yard running backs in Alabama history, took turns shredding the Irish while quarterback AJ McCarron, the most efficient passer in the NCAA this season, worked like a surgeon.
In an example of perfect balance, Alabama rolled up 529 yards of offense (265 rushing, 264 passing) against Notre Dame, which came in ranked No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense, fourth against the run and having allowed just two rushing touchdowns all season.
Tide All-American linemen Barrett Jones and guard Chance Warmack dominated their head-to-head battles with Irish defensive tackle Louis Nix and linebacker Manti Teo.
Theyre big, strong and athletic, Teo said afterward of Bamas line. They just did what Alabama does.
The Tide led 14-0 after the first quarter, 28-0 at halftime and was up 35-0 when Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson finally dove into the end zone on a 2-yard with 4:08 to play in the third quarter. The touchdown ended a run of 69 unanswered points in BCS title games dating to Alabamas win over Texas in 2010.
McCarron finished 20 of 28 for 264 yards and four touchdowns. Lacy, named the Offensive Player of the Game, ran for 140 yards and scored twice on a 20-yard dash through the heart of the Irish defense on the games opening drive and on an 11-yard pass with 31 seconds left in the half. Yeldon finished with 108 yards on 20 attempts and a touchdown.
For one of the first times this season we came out and played a complete game, Lacy said.
Former Miami Northwestern High standout Amari Cooper, who led Alabama in receiving this season as a freshman, caught two touchdown passes from McCarron in the second half.