Notre Dame is grounded by Alabama

Fighting Irish are held to 32 yards rushing by the Crimson Tide in Bowl Champinship Series title game.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla.Notre Dame's final stat line in the Bowl Championship Series title game wasn't pretty. The Fighting Irish had only 32 yards rushing.

Tailback Cierre Wood finished with two yards in four carries

"We just started slow," Wood said. "We didn't get off to a good start."

Wood said Alabama's defense was as advertised.

"They didn't surprise me with anything," he said.

Wood did say Alabama's experience in title games did serve as an advantage.

"I would say so," he said. "If you've been there numerous times, you know how to act. You know what it takes to be successful in that type of game."

Said Notre Dame offensive lineman Mike Golic Jr. about the loss: "It hurts. There's no other way to put it."

Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones said his fourth-quarter shove to quarterback AJ McCarron's chest was no big deal.

"Everyone is freaking out about that," Jones said.

McCarron yelled at Jones after Alabama, up 42-14, was called for a delay-of-game penalty.

"He got a little bit frustrated and went to the nearest person, which happened to be me," Jones said. "It was no big deal, that's just how our relationship is. We've gotten in several group altercations like that in practice."

Let's start looking ahead already

Alabama will be a heavy favorite to win its third consecutive national title next season. The key game is a Week 3 matchup with Texas A&M.

"The team next year is going to do their best to live up to that standard," linebacker Nico Johnson said. "That's just something you've got to do."

Coach Nick Saban usually allows his team 24 hours to celebrate a victory. If the players are lucky, he might give them 30 hours after Monday night's win.

Saban notes that Georgia came within five yards in the Southeastern Conference title game from knocking his team out of Monday's championship game.

"You're always fighting yourself," he said of the process.

Said McCarron about being the first school to win consecutive BCS titles: "It's pretty crazy when you think about it, all the history in college football in the BCS era. It's pretty special."

It's time to crunch

some numbers

Notre Dame was the first team to reach the BCS title game after starting the season unranked. The Irish finished 12-1 for only the second time (1989). ... Alabama raised its all-time record to 2-5 against Notre Dame. ... The Crimson Tide claimed its 15th national title and third since 2009. ... Alabama is 62-3 when leading at the half under Saban. ... Alabama's senior class won a school-record 49 games. ... Alabama is 50-0 since the start of the 2008 season when it it has rushed for at least 150 yards. ... The Crimson Tide had not given up a touchdown in a BCS championship game for 108 minutes and seven seconds before Notre Dame scored in the third quarter.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

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