NCAA FB

The scoreboard, and the clock, both favored 'Bama

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP)

Alabama controlled just about every aspect of the BCS title game. Including the clock.

On the way to beating Notre Dame 42-14 for the national championship on Monday night, the Crimson Tide also won the time-of-possession battle in every quarter - and by a fairly significant margin in three of those periods.

For the game, Alabama held the ball for 38 minutes, 13 seconds, compared with 21:47 for the Fighting Irish.

And the tone was set in the opening quarter, when Alabama had the ball for just over 12 minutes, running 22 plays to Notre Dame's eight and ending that period with a 202-23 edge in total yards.

''We had a hard time getting off the field, and a lot of that had to do with Alabama,'' Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. ''They ran the ball effectively. For us, we've been able to manage the run game. They were able to run the ball effectively, and then obviously when you do that, it opens up so much of the play-action game.''

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RUN, BAMA, RUN: When Alabama runs, Alabama wins.

That axiom held true once again Monday night in the BCS title game - for the 50th straight time.

The Crimson Tide have rushed for at least 150 yards in a game on 50 different occasions since the start of the 2008 season. And they've won every one of those contests, after rushing for 265 yards on the way to a 42-14 win over Notre Dame.

The last time Alabama ran for more than 150 yards and lost was Nov. 17, 2007, when the Crimson Tide were beaten by Louisiana-Monroe 21-14.

Alabama finished 7-6 that season. In the five seasons that have followed, the Tide has 61 wins, tying Boise State for the most in major college football over that span.

And, most notably, Alabama now has three of the last four BCS national titles. Naturally, the Tide ran for at least 150 yards in all three of those title tilts.

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TOUGH CALL: Alabama might have gotten a break early in the BCS title game when the Crimson Tide appeared to fumble a punt - but kept the football anyway.

The Tide held a 7-0 lead when Christion Jones muffed his attempt at fair-catching a Notre Dame punt. The ball was loose and Notre Dame appeared to recover, but officials said the Irish interfered with Jones' try at a catch.

Replays suggested that Jones was hit by one of his own teammates, not any Notre Dame players.

Alabama kept the ball and wound up scoring on the drive for a 14-0 lead, on the way to a 42-14 win.

''What I disputed was the validity of the fair catch,'' Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. ''I thought it was an invalid fair-catch signal. The official thought otherwise. And then of course we couldn't tell exactly, but our guys that watched it on the video thought that we did make contact. That would have been a nice play to go our way early in the game. Obviously it didn't go our way, but ... it certainly didn't change the outcome of this football game.''

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BIGGEST CROWD: The BCS title game was the most highly attended event in the history of Sun Life Stadium.

The announced attendance for Alabama-Notre Dame was 80,120 - a bit higher than the previous mark of 78,468, set four years ago when Florida and Oklahoma played here for the national championship.

Those 80,120 tickets will result in $80,120 being donated toward a fund for the victims of last month's school massacre in Newtown, Conn. The Orange Bowl Committee announced the donation on Monday night.

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SABAN'S RINGS: Alabama coach Nick Saban is pretty tough to beat in big games.

He's now 8-1 in championship games - 4-1 in Southeastern Conference title matchups during his stints at Alabama and LSU, and 4-0 in games that decided the BCS national title.

''I think it's pretty special what we've accomplished, what the players accomplished, what the coaches accomplished. I think it's really special,'' Saban said. ''And one of these days, when I'm sitting on the side of a hill watching the stream go by, I'll probably figure it out even more.''

Of course, in a classic Saban move, he immediately dropped the sense of nostalgia and returned to his next challenge - that being next season.

''What about next year's team? You've got to think about that, too,'' Saban said.

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2 BETTER THAN 1: The BCS title game marked the sixth time that Notre Dame entered a No. 1-vs.-No. 2 matchup as the top-ranked team in the country.

It was also the first time the Irish lost one of those clashes.

The Irish had been 4-0-1 when playing as No. 1 against No. 2 - before falling to Alabama 42-14 on Monday night. The loss also denied Irish coach Brian Kelly what would have been career win No. 200.

Tagged: Buffalo, Alabama, Notre Dame, Brian Kelly, Christion Jones

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