The quarterbacks

A memorable night for Alabama’s AJ McCarron

 

Leading the way in a dominating first half, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron got his third national championship.

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abeasley@miamiherald.com

They’re fond of statues at the University of Alabama.

A.J. McCarron just might be the next to get a bust in Tuscaloosa.

McCarron could go down as not just as the most decorated quarterback in Alabama history, but in all of college football.

He has three rings now, including two as a starter.

And here’s the scary part for the rest of the country: He’s only a redshirt junior, and unlikely to make the jump to the NFL.

That’s where the history part comes in. In the past 45 years (generally considered the modern era of college football), no starting quarterback has led his team to three national championships. Not Tim Tebow. Not Matt Leinart. Not Tommie Frazier.

“It’s pretty crazy,’’ McCarron said. “When you think about it, all the history of college football in the BCS era, it’s pretty special, and it shows a lot about Coach Saban, the job he does and his staff.’’

McCarron got one step closer to immortality Monday, throwing four touchdown passes — including two to Miami Northwestern High’s Amari Cooper — to turn the title game into a laugher. He finished 20 of 28 for 264 yards as the Crimson Tide rolled Notre Dame 42-14.

Alabama and McCarron set the tone from the outset.

He threw the ball only once on the Crimson Tide’s teeth-kicking opening touchdown drive. But he made it count. McCarron faked the give to tailback Eddie Lacy, stepped to the right and found a wide open Kevin Norwood downfield for 29 yards.

The play-action feign again worked on the ensuing drive, when on first-and-goal from the 3, Michael Williams shook open for an easy pitch and catch. McCarron connected on 8 of his first 9 passes for 112 yards and a score.

This year’s game got so out of hand, so quick, that ESPN resorted to ogling McCarron’s girlfriend in an attempt to keep the country’s interest.

Late in the first quarter, cameras cut to Katherine Webb (who just happens to be Miss Alabama), and Brent Musburger could hardly contain himself.

“I’ll tell you what, you quarterbacks, you get all the good-looking women,” Musburger said. “What a beautiful woman. Whoa. If you’re a youngster in Alabama, get a football out and start throwing it around the backyard.”

McCarron’s counterpart, however, could barely keep it inbounds. When Notre Dame’s Everett Golson wasn’t running for his life, he was overthrowing receivers. At the half, Golson had completed just half of his 16 passes for 93 yards. The Irish had no points, just five first downs and trailed by four scores as they trudged into the locker room.

Any remote chance the Irish had to make it a game in the second half vanished with a laugh. Seriously.

Ha’Sean “Ha Ha’’ Clinton-Dix made a leaping sideline interception at the goal line. On the ensuing drive, McCarron connected with Cooper for a 34-yard strike, and the lead ballooned to five touchdowns.

And maybe somewhere, a slab of granite was getting sized up for a good chiseling.

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