College Football Playoff Semifinal Recap: Alabama vs Notre Dame (Rose Bowl)
The Rose Bowl In Dallas, Alabama's Three Headed Attack Rolls On To Miami
The Rose Bowl played in Jerry World was as expected. With Heisman Trophy finalists DeVonta Smith and Mac Jones, the top-ranked Crimson Tide rolled into its fifth CFP championship game in six seasons.
Smith caught three of Jones' four touchdown passes and Najee Harris ran for 125 yards with a high-hurdling highlight in a 31-14 victory over No. 4 Notre Dame in a CFP semifinal Rose Bowl played inside about 1,400 miles from Pasadena, California.
Alabama Back In Title Game
The Tide earned a spot in the Jan. 11 championship game in Miami, against No. 2 Clemson again or No. 3 Ohio State; the Tigers and Buckeyes are currently playing in the other CFP semifinal at the Sugar Bowl on Friday night. Alabama missed the CFP last year for the first time since the format began in 2014. Notre Dame (10-2, No. 4 CFP), made its 2nd playoff appearance.
Alabama's Offense is Potent, and Najee Harris's Highlight Reel Play
Alabama scored TDs on its first three possessions, including a 97-yard drive where RB Najee Harris, on a highlight reel run, leaped over a 6-foot cornerback Nick McCloud and would continue to run for 53 yards.
DeVonta Smith Rose Bowl MVP
That came between drives when Smith, who has 16 TD catches his last seven games, turned short passes into scores of 26 and 34 yards. Smith finished with seven catches for 130 yards, later adding a beautiful toe-tapping, 7-yard TD catch in the front corner of the end zone right on the pylon.
Notre Dame Offense Unable to Get Into A Rhythm
The Alabama defense kept quarterback Ian Book under pressure and looking for answers. The winningest starting QB ever in Notre Dame history (30-5), completed 27 of 39 passes for 229 yards and an INT.
Alabama Didn't meet Vegas Expectations, Still Very Efficient
Alabama didn't entirely blow the doors off Notre Dame as a three TD favorite, but the 31 points were its fewest since losing to Clemson 41-16 in the CFP title game two years ago. Alabama's 437 total yards is their lowest output since they had 414 yds against Missouri in the opener.
Alabama gets a chance to win its sixth national title in Saban's 14 seasons in the CFP national championship game.
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