#1 Notre Dame vs. #2 Alabama Key Matchups

In the most anticipated BCS National Championship game of all time undefeated and number one ranked Notre Dame will face the toughest test of their miraculous season against defending champion Alabama. Despite being ranked number one the Irish are nine point underdogs to the Crimson Tide and few experts believe the Irish will win. However, the Irish have made a habit of proving the experts wrong this season, and the following matchups are the ones the Irish must win to be crowned national champions:

Louis Nix versus Barrett Jones

USA; Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Robert Marve (9) is sacked by Notre Dame Fighting Irish nose guard Louis Nix (9) as Boilermakers offensive guard Peters Drey (67) defends in the second quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Irish and Crimson Tide are mirror images of each other, as both teams look to play dominating defense and control the line of scrimmage by running the football. The most important matchup at the point of attack will be Notre Dame’s star nose-tackle Louis Nix against Alabama’s all-American center Barrett Jones. Nix has been a force all-season for the Irish, totally 45 tackles, two sacks, and five pass breakups. Nix will look to take advantage of the fact Jones will not be at 100 percent as he will be nursing a broken foot. Taking advantage of Jones is easier said than done however, as he is the key to an Alabama rushing offense that possesses two 1000 yard rushers and averages 5.6 yards per carry.

Manti Te’o versus Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon

Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te’o (5) in game action. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish defeated the Stanford Cardinal by the score of 20-13 in overtime, at Notre Dame Stadium, in Notre Dame, IN. (Photo – Robin Alam / IconSMI)

The most decorated player in college football history, Manti Te’o, will need to have one more legendary performance for the Irish to become national champions. Te’o will face one of the most elite running back tandems in the nation, that of Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon. Te’o has faced plenty of talented running backs this season but never a team with two elite backs coupled with a dominating offensive line. Lacy and Yeldon represent a combination of power and speed. Lacy represents the power with 1182 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns, and freshman sensation T.J. Yeldon represents the speed with 1000 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on 6.5 yards per carry. Te’o will need to set the tone physically versus Lacy and Yeldon in order for the Irish defense to avoid being on the field for long stretches of time.

Everett Golson versus C.J. Mosley

Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Everett Golson (5) in game action. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish defeated the Stanford Cardinal by the score of 20-13 in overtime, at Notre Dame Stadium, in Notre Dame, IN. (Photo – Robin Alam / IconSMI)

Redshirt freshman quarterback Everett Golson has done an excellent job this season growing as a player and leading the Irish offense. Golson has limited turnovers, which cost the Irish in the past, and has made plays both on the ground and through the air. Golson will need to continue to limit turnovers and make even more plays as he faces the best defense he has seen in his career in Alabama. The Alabama defense is led by junior linebacker C.J. Mosley and his 99 tackles, four sacks, and two interceptions. Mosley is an all-American talent and will be constantly reading Golson waiting for a mistake and opportunities to punish him physically.

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  • I'd suggest that EG take a long, hard look at the game film of how Teddy Bridgewater handled himself and played against UF last night in the Sugar Bowl. That's a blue-print for how EG should look and play against Bama on Mon. for the NC.

    Go Irish!

  • SFR-The candles worked; we will be watching live time, prime time!!! Did not get to see the UL qb yet but heard he was relentles as well as fearless. After chow we will watch Mr Ted. Anxiety is already here.

    Take care. Stay safe. And of course Ebb Tide Ebb...Go Irish! Hooah!

    END EAM. OUT.

  • Sad Warrior:

    Yes they did indeed work! Let's hope you and the other boys enjoy an ND win and another title!

    Do watch, Sad Warrior. Bridgewater even wears # 5 like EG. EG needs to look at Bridgewater's game film from last night and see how to handle an elite SEC D. There's a lot to learn from seeing UL's # 5 pick apart UF's vaunted D. Needless to say, I hope BK was watching too.

    • I'm really not worried about our offense vs. Bama's D. After all, our offense practices against the #1 defense in the country week in and week out. It is our defense that will win or lose this NC and I have the utmost confidence in the Irish Wall.

  • There's a big difference between EG and Bridgewater - namely stats and experience. I don't think ND can run for less than 100 yards and win by 10 points (like UL did). But, I also think ND has a better line and running backs than Louisville.

    The more I think about the NC game, the more I see the outcome residing not on the defenses, or Alabama's offense, but ND's. If they can manage a decent running game, hit the underneath throws, and not turn the ball over, that's all we need. I think ND's D will give up yards, but I don't see Bama coming away with a ton of points. 17-21 would be my guess.

    I think whoever scores 24 points in this game wins it.

  • Exactly my point, Patrick. ND's O line is better than UL's. EG has the same skill set as TB. What he lacks in experience (and at this point he's no longer a rookie, so to speak) he makes up for that by having better weapons around him than does TB at UL. The point is that the play calling and execution by TB against an elite SEC D should serve as a model for EG. EG needs to make all the throws but esp. the sure or easy ones, just TB did last night for UL. EG has the arm to do that. We'll see if he has head to make the reads.

    ND's D needs to contain the Bama backs. Make their QB throw to someone other than Cooper to beat them. Do that and I think Bama doesn't score more than 20-21 points. So, yes, if ND scores 23-24 points it could will pull off the upset. Let's pray it's so!

    Go Irish!

  • What about it Rob,

    Could this game come down to ST play? With all this golden practice time available, do you think BK has had the time and confidence to finally pull out the stops on ST play? Surprise...Surprise Bama!

    Here come our beloved Irish! 13-0

  • I agree with you SFR.

    And Jeff, it would be an upset. I don't care about 12-0 vs 12-1. This is an Alabama team playing in its third title game in four years. It is the "model" of a dynasty. ND is not.

    An ND win won't remove Bama from the upper echelon of football. But it will put a dent in the SEC's armor, solidify ND for at least 5 years and create a balance of power in the game. I think ND, Big Ten, Pac 12, etc., have taken notice over the last 6 years and are modeling themselves after the SEC brand. Physical, fast, run-stopping defenses. Solid, fundamentally sound offenses with good running games.

  • Patrick,

    Amen!

    Jeff,

    I meant upset only in the Vegas odds makers' sense. I agree that none of us should be surprised to see ND beat Bama.

    JC,

    I think you're on to something. Don't be surprised if BK has something up his sleeves when it comes to STs. From your moth to God's ears!

    BTW: Belated thanks for the your Holiday wishes.

    Here Come OUR Irish!!!

  • Man, lets' get it on Bama! I have this SAME feeling as before the OU game! EG is going light'em up with a balanced rushing and passing attack!

    Speaking of OU, I hope they roll-over Texas A&M and Johnny Heisman tonight! If OU wins tonight, I wonder if our under-dog status shrinks a bit?

    Here come our beloved Irish!

  • OK is not very good and they showed it last week. The OK defense needs to go back and retake the Course: Tackling 101