One 5-yard run by Alabama junior running back Eddie Lacy epitomized the first half, nay, the entire BCS National Championship Game won Monday night by Alabama 42-14.
Lacy broke through the left side and ran into Notre Dame junior outside linebacker Danny Spond. Spond grabbed the 6-foot, 220-pound running back in the ungainly manner of a man trying to tackle a Sub-Zero creeping downhill. While Spond’s attempted tackle slowed Lacy, it did so only until Lacy slung Spond to the ground and continued on down the field.
Though short, the run was the game in microcosm — Lacy power on the ground, especially off the left side, shrugging Notre Dame aside with humiliating ease. The game’s offensive MVP ran for 140 yards on 20 carries and caught two passes for 17 yards and a touchdown.
Alabama built its 28-0 halftime lead on 153 rushing yards on just 23 carries, 6.7 yards per carry. Of that, 96 yards and 12 carries (8.0 per carry) came from Lacy, who trucked through the Irish defense for a 20-yard touchdown just 2:57 into the game.
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That opening drive set the tone. Alabama’s second possession included two third-and-1s, the situation often used as a gauge for physical dominance. Lacy ran for 8 through a big hole on the left side and 20 yards starting left and going up the middle. Here’s where we should mention sophomore left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio and left guard Chance Warmack.
But Lacy emphatically dismissing Spond hammered home the alpha team of the night.
“It’s a big boost to see something like that,” sophomore linebacker Trey DePriest said. “It’s kind of unreal. It normally doesn’t happen. When it happens, everybody gets excited off of it and the energy level rises.”
Said Lacy: “Just because they play defense doesn’t mean they’re the only ones who can deliver a blow.”
And if the Spond throwdown wasn’t impressive enough, Lacy closed the half with a touch of niftiness. From the Irish 11, Lacy took a check-down pass from AJ McCarron over the middle and, with Spond closing for a tackle, made a balletic spin that left Spond and senior linebacker Dan Fox running into each other. The 11-yard touchdown put the Crimson Tide up 28-0 31 seconds before halftime.
“I think it was tight,” Lacy said of the move. “I liked it. I wished I could’ve seen a replay.”
The running game opened things up for freshman wide receiver Amari Cooper, just eight months removed from Miami Northwestern High.
Cooper extended the history Tuesday night. His 34-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter and 19-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter gave Cooper 11 touchdown catches for the season. That beat the Alabama record of 10 set by Al Lary in 1950.
The second touchdown pushed Cooper’s game total to 105 yards on six catches, putting him at 1,000 yards on 59 catches for the season.