The season is over for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish after losing to the Alabama Crimson Tide 31-14 in the College Football Playoff Rose Bowl. Alabama was everything that they were advertised to be — and maybe more given what was on the line for both teams.
Alabama got off to a blazing start. After forcing the Irish to punt after an opening drive of 5 plays for 17 yards, the Tide ripped off two consecutive touchdown drives that consisted of 12 plays for 176 yards and took all of 4:47 seconds total.
DeVonta Smith, Mac Jones, and Najee Harris were incredible with Smith getting over 130 yards and scoring on 3 touchdowns. Harris ran for over 125, and when the Irish keyed in on the pass — Harris was usually the one to to get the ball with green yards in front of him.
Notre Dame’s offense looked incredibly conservative in the first half, with their only touchdown drive consisting of 12 plays for 75 yards that ended on a 4th down score from Kyren Williams. Ian book didn’t play poorly, as his wide receivers were well covered most of the game. Book did throw a crucial interception in the 3rd quarter while the Irish were only trailing 21-7 — and were driving.
It should be noted that Tommy Tremble went out of the game early with a lower leg injury, which was a huge loss to what the Irish like to do.
Through the first three quarters, Ian Book attempted just two on-target passes beyond six yards from the line of scrimmage.— Carter Karels (@CarterKarels) January 2, 2021
One was a 20-yard completion to Ben Skowronek. The other was intercepted.
Alabama completed 17 passes of 6+ yards and 12 of 12+ yards during that span.
Bama kept doing what it has done all year with incredible offensive line play and one explosive play after another. As good as Kyle Hamilton and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah are, they just weren’t enough. Freshman CB Clarence Lewis was picked on all day by Smith and Jones, and the Irish front four could never get enough pressure on their own to help out the back end.
Notre Dame had a TD pass to Ben Skowronek wiped out because of an illegal procedure call on Chris Tyree, but the game was still 31-7 at the time. With around three and a half minutes to go, the Irish were only 6-14 on 3rd down and had only made it to the redzone three times in the game — with one of them coming in the final minutes.
The Irish did beat the spread with a 14 play 80 yard drive that ended with Ian Book touchdown run. They immediately recovered an onside kick to try and save even more face, but were unable to punch it in in the final second.
We will have much more on OFD in the coming hours and days. The Irish end the season 10-2, and now we wait to see if they finish in the top 5.