No. 1 Alabama defeated No. 4 Notre Dame 31-14 in the Rose Bowl Game at AT&T Stadium at AT&T Stadium on Friday.
Crimson Tide (12-0) advanced to the Playoff college football championship game on January 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. They will face the winner of Friday’s second semifinal, No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Ohio. Been to the Sugar Bowl.
MORE: Alabama-Notre Dame Score, Highlights
Mac Jones finished 25 of 30 in the air for 297 yards and four touchdowns for the Tide. DeVonta Smith, 2020 Sporting News Player of the Year, also played a starring role in the victory, capturing seven receptions for 130 yards and three touchdowns.
Alabama advanced to the CFP championship game for the fifth time with Nick Saban, who will overtake Bear Bryant with a seventh national championship if Crimson Tide can win its next game.
Here are three takeaways from the first College Football Playoffs semifinal of the 2020 season:
Bama’s first three impulses were art
Crimson Tide racked up 260 total yards in his first 18 plays from the scrimmage line. That’s an incredible 14.4 yards per play average. Alabama’s trio of skilled All-American position players were responsible for most of that damage.
Smith provided three blocks in the receiving game, including catches and touchdown runs of 34 and 26 yards, respectively. Jones made 12 of 13 passes in those series and added a third touchdown pass: a 12-yard pass to tight end Wheel Billingsley. Name Harris provided the highlight play with a 53-yard rush in which he defeated Notre Dame defensive back Nick McCloud.
Harris had seven carries for 93 yards in the first half alone. Alabama was ahead 21-7 with 8:49 remaining in the first half and then built its lead after halftime.
DeVonta Smith is worthy of Heisman
Smith had the biggest impact on the game in the first half. He had four receptions of 20 yards or more, and that included the two first-half touchdowns. Smith worked in the middle of the field and opened up on the crossing routes, and Notre Dame High School had no response.
Smith appeared to land awkwardly on his hip on the second touchdown, but came back and showed no signs of slowing down. He added a 7-yard touchdown in the third quarter that brought Alabama’s lead to 28-7; it was an impressive grip in which he dragged both feet to stay in bounds.
Smith is one of four finalists for the Heisman Trophy and validated his case to become the first wide receiver to win the award since Desmond Howard of Michigan in 1991.
Consider Smith’s combined numbers from the SEC championship game and the CFP semifinal: 22 receptions, 314 yards, five touchdowns.
The Irish face the same old questions
The highlight for Notre Dame (10-2) against Alabama was a 75-yard, 15-play drive in the second quarter that Karen Williams finished with a 1-yard touchdown run.
Other than that, Notre Dame followed the same great game narrative. He couldn’t close a two-touchdown gap after halftime and Ian Book was injured in the third quarter. However, Book struggled with 229 yards passing, 55 yards rushing and one rushing touchdown. But most of those stats came with the Irish in upgrade mode.
The Irish are now 1-7 against the top five teams with Brian Kelly. Despite their 47-40 double win over Clemson in the regular season, the national focus will gravitate to the corresponding 34-10 loss to the Tigers in the ACC championship game and then the failure of the national semifinal against Crimson Tide.
Was the ACC One-Year Program Lease Successful? Kelly may continue to build a second playoff appearance in three years, but Notre Dame faces great challenges catching up with the other three teams on the field this year.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.