The first was a 34-yarder with 7:34 to go in the third quarter that made it 35-0. The other was a 19-yarder with 11:27 remaining, a diving catch in the end zone down the middle of the Irish defense. Cooper finished with six catches for 105 yards in front of his family and friends.
It was everything we practiced, Cooper said. They didnt change anything about their defense, in my opinion.
Notre Dame, hoping to win its first title since 1988 and become the first team since BYU (1984) to win the AP national title after being unranked in the preseason poll, never got its dangerous rushing attack going.
Led by linebackers C.J. Moseley and safeties Robert Lester and HaSean HaHa Clinton-Dix, Alabamas defense stuffed Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood and forced Golson to go to the air early. That plan didnt work for the Irish.
After falling behind 7-0 almost instantly and surrendering just the third rushing touchdown it had all season, the Irish appeared to catch a break when Christion Jones fumbled a punt and Notre Dame recovered at the Bama 24. But referees ruled Irish safety Matthias Farley had interfered with Jones, who had called for a fair catch, and Alabama retained possession.
Irish fans were angry. The rest of the night didnt go any better.
Monday nights title game, the 20th college football championship game decided in South Florida, began with the usual festivities.
Before the Zac Brown Band sang the national anthem, paratroopers from Wings of Blue flew into the stadium carrying the game ball and team flags. The trooper carrying the Crimson Tides flag slipped to his backside, while the one carrying Notre Dames flag landed perfectly in stride at the 50.
An electric sellout crowd one decidedly louder for Notre Dame at the start stood on its feet for nearly all of the pregame festivities. But by the time Yeldon had barreled his way into the end zone on the first play of the second quarter to make it 21-0, much of the fight in the Irish had dissipated.
Alabama, which claims 15 national titles overall, has now won 10 national championships since the poll era began in 1936. Notre Dame, which claims 11, remains second all-time with eight.
Its disappointing, we lost the football game, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. But its going to make my job very easy when it comes to talking about what we need to do to win a national championship next year.