For the fifth time in seven years, Alabama is heading to the College Football Playoff national championship game.
The Crimson Tide downed fourth-ranked Notre Dame 31-14 in the Rose Bowl Game — a final score that doesn’t really show how much Alabama dominated the game. Were it not for a garbage-time touchdown late in the fourth quarter, Alabama would have secured a win that also would have covered an insane 20-point spread.
Alabama’s big three of Mac Jones, Najee Harris and DeVonta Smith were at it again Friday: Jones completed 25 of 30 passes for 297 yards and four touchdowns. Three of those went to Smith, who nabbed seven receptions for 130 yards on top of his scores. Harris, despite not rushing for a touchdown, had 15 carries for 125 yards that included a high-flying hurdle-and-run that set up a Tide score.
Notre Dame played admirably, but couldn’t measure up to Alabama, which had a clear advantage in both size and talent at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Quarterback Ian Book completed 27 of 39 passes for 229 yards and an interception. He also rushed for a 1-yard touchdown. Running back Kyren Williams ran 16 times for 64 yards and a score.
Alabama vs. Notre Dame score
Alabama vs. Notre Dame live updates, highlights
(All times Eastern)
Final: Alabama 31, Notre Dame 14
7:34 p.m.: Alabama tattoos Book one more time as his pass falls incomplete. That’ll make it final: 31-14, Alabama. The Crimson Tide are heading to their fifth national title game in seven years.
7:33 p.m.: Timeout, Notre Dame (0:01)
7:32 p.m.: Book avoids the pass rush again and rumbles for a first down at the 15.
7:31 p.m.: False start and a quick catch make it third-and-12 from the 30 with 11 seconds remaining.
7:30 p.m.: Now Jobe is called for pass interference, giving Notre Dame a first down at the 28 with roughly 20 seconds remaining.
7:29 p.m.: Book narrowly avoids a sack and scrambles for a first down to the Alabama 42 with about 30 seconds remaining.
7:27 p.m.: Onside kick, Notre Dame. Smith bobbles the ball on the onside kick and Owusu-Koramoah is there to bring it in at the Notre Dame 47.
7:25 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, NOTRE DAME. Two plays later, Book fakes the handoff to walk it in for the touchdown. That makes it 31-14, Alabama, with 56 seconds remaining, and that will make some bettors very unhappy.
7:24 p.m.: Notre Dame has it first-and-goal from the 1.
7:21 p.m.: And now Nick Saban is called for unsportsmanlike conduct. That gives Notre Dame the ball at the 25. Looks like he was letting someone have it when the official behind him casually threw a flag.
7:21 p.m.: Patrick Surtain II has the pick but lands just out of bounds.
7:21 p.m.: Book is tattooed again but delivers the fourth down-converting pass to Avery Williams. Irish are driving at the Alabama 40.
7:20 p.m.: Looks like Notre Dame’s going for it on fourth-and-8 instead of waving the white flag.
7:18 p.m.: Timeout, Notre Dame (3:35)
7:17 p.m.: Punt time, Notre Dame. This is likely Alabama’s last chance to get 35 points, if it cares for such things.
7:16 p.m.: DeMarcco Hellams comes for a corner blitz and chases Book the length of the field for a 2-yard loss. That brings up third-and-8.
7:15 p.m.: Book is absolutely tattooed by Chris Allen, but credit to the quarterback for delivering on an-target ball upfield for the first down near the Notre Dame 45.
7:11 p.m.: Notre Dame will take over at its 20 following the fair catch.
7:10 p.m.: Jones is called for intentional grounding on third down (not that it matters). Alabama will punt on fourth-and-17. Will the Tide’s streak of 35-point games end here in the semifinal?
7:06 p.m.: Jones has Smith open, but it’s a rare drop by him. Fortunately for Alabama, Notre Dame defensive lineman Justin Ademilola is called for roughing the passer. The Tide have it first down at their own 41.
7:05 p.m.: Metchie takes the quick catch and works for 10 yards and a first down. The Tide driving at their 24.
7:01 p.m.: Turnover on downs, Notre Dame. Book’s pass falls short of his intended receiver. It’s uncertain whether Alabama got a hand on the ball at the line of scrimmage, but either way, the Tide take over with 8:43 left in the game.
7 p.m.: Book’s attempt to Skowronek misses the mark with Jobe in defense. Fourth-and-10 down coming up, and the Irish offense is staying on the field.
6:59 p.m.: Two Notre Dame players are called for an illegal shift, wiping away an Irish touchdown. The Irish have it second-and-15 from Alabama’s 18.
6:58 p.m.: And there’s another, down to the 13. Good opportunity for Notre Dame to score here, though it may be a little late to mount a comeback.
6:57 p.m.: There’s another first down for Notre Dame, this one at Alabama’s 31.
6:55 p.m.: Notre Dame throws a tall ball down the sideline, but Javon McKinley brings it in for 18 yards after bobbling it. It’s first down, Notre Dame, from its 43.
6:54 p.m.: Notre Dame fair catch, 25-yard line. Routine.
6:52 p.m.: Good news, it looks as if Book will be able to come back out after the injury.
6:50 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, ALABAMA. Will Reichard remains perfect for the season. He boots a 41-yarder through the uprights to make it 31-7, Alabama, with 12:45 left in the game. He’s now 13 for 13 in field goal attempts.
6:49 p.m.: There’s the first carry for backup Brian Robinson. He goes for 1 yard to make it third-and-9. Alabama seems intent on running out the clock more than running up the score.
6:48 p.m.: Third down? Give it to Harris. He gets 13 yards to the Alabama 29 for a first down.
End of third quarter: Alabama 28, Notre Dame 7
6:44 p.m.: A 2-yard gain by Harris leaves third-and-8 for Alabama to convert at Notre Dame’s 42. They’ll attempt that with the first play of the fourth quarter.
6:43 p.m.: Jones finds a couple of targets in Forristall and Bolden to give Alabama a first down at the Notre Dame 44.
6:41 p.m.: Smith nearly broke another punt return for a touchdown, but will settle for a 20-yard return to get Alabama to the 30-yard line.
6:40 p.m.: Backup Drew Pyne is in to finish out the drive for Book. It lasts two plays as Bama forces a punt on fourth-and-16.
6:36 p.m.: Timeout called on the field. Book’s down after the sack — he took the full brunt of Barmore’s 310-pound frame.
6:35 p.m.: And there’s the first sack of the game! Alabama’s Christian Barmore bullrushes the guard and center to sack Book for a 14-yard loss back to the 30.
6:34 p.m.: Sophomore Byron Young got a little extra shove on Book on a throwaway play. That’s a 15-yard penalty, giving NOtre Dame the ball at its own 44.
6:33 p.m.: Notre Dame calls for the fair catch and gets the ball at its 25.
6:30 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, ALABAMA. One play later, Jones rolls right and hits Smith for a toe-tapping touchdown. He got both feet in, too. That makes it 28-7, Alabama, with 4:58 left in the third quarter.
6:28 p.m.: Jones scrambles on third-and-4 and gets more than enough for a first down. Tide now have first-and-goal at the Notre Dame 7.
6:26 p.m.: Harris gets the penalty back on the ensuing play; Notre Dame is forcing Jones to force it down to his checkdowns.
6:25 p.m.: Owens is called for holding on first-and-10, the first penalty by either team. Tide have it first-and-20 from Notre Dame’s 32.
6:24 p.m.: Jones hits Metchie on the slant, and he takes it a 40 yards down to Notre Dame’s 22. He fell in behind Smith, who served as his lead blocker for most of that run down the sideline.
6:20 p.m.: Interception, Alabama. Harris is in coverage against Mayer, gets underneath the throw and gives Alabama the ball at its 39-yard line. First turnover of the day for either team.
6:19 p.m.: Another first down for the Irish after Book finds Michael Mayer in the flat. Notre Dame is driving at its 34.
6:17 p.m.: First down Notre Dame at the 21 after Book got the ball to Williams out of the backfield.
6:15 p.m.: Charlie Scott’s punt goes 36 yards and will be downed at fair-caught at the Notre Dame 10.
6:12 p.m.: Jones’ third-down pass is deflected at the line of scrimmage back into his hands. Jones takes the loss, forcing a punt. Of note: Butkus Award-winning linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah got the deflection by pushing upfield on center Chris Owens — Landon Dickerson’s replacement.
6:11 p.m.: The toss left to Harris on third-and-1 goes for 6 yards and is good for a first down. Alabama is now driving at Notre Dame’s 37.
6:09 p.m.: Jones lofts a ball up to Smith, and the latter goes up to collect it for a 22-yard gain out to the 49.
6:07 p.m.: The second-half kick goes for a touchback, giving Alabama the ball at its 25.
Halftime: Alabama 21, Notre Dame 7
5:48 p.m.: Halftime stats:
Total yards: Alabama 278; Notre Dame 189
Passing: Alabama 14 for 16, 182 yards, three touchdowns; Notre Dame 10 for 15, 84 yards
Rushing: Alabama 12 rushes for 97 yards; Notre Dame 24 rushes for 105 yards
First downs: Alabama 15; Notre Dame 9
Third down efficiency: Alabama 3 for 4; Notre Dame 5 for 10 (1 for 1 fourth down)
Time of possession: Alabama 12:15; Notre Dame 17:45
5:46 p.m.: Bama takes a knee to end the half.
5:45 p.m.: Missed field goal, Notre Dame. Doerer drove it low on the long attempt, and an Alabama defender may have got a hand on it.
5:44 p.m.: It’s fourth down Notre Dame at the Alabama 33, setting up a 50-yard field goal attempt for Jonathan Doerer.
5:43 p.m.: Timeout, Notre Dame (0:11)
5:42 p.m.: And now Book finds Ben Skowronek for a 20-yard gain to the Alabama 40. Notre Dame has 18 seconds left after the spike.
5:41 p.m.: And now there’s a 19-yard designed quarterback draw. That gets Notre Dame to its 40-yard line with 34 seconds left.
5:40 p.m.: Good coverage forces a Book scramble. It’s second-and-1 at the 21 with 37 seconds.
5:40 p.m.: Notre Dame to take over at its 11 with 44 seconds remaining.
5:38 p.m.: Alabama’s stopped for the first time after Jones’ back-shoulder throw to John Metchie III falls incomplete. Bama wants a penalty on McCloud, but won’t get one. Big stop for Notre Dame, considering the Crimson Tide get the ball out of the half.
5:35 p.m.: Timeout, Alabama (0:56)
5:34 p.m.: Alabama gets a little cute with the play-calling, trying to get Smith going on a reverse of sorts. Notre Dame tackles him for a loss of 6, giving the Tide third-and-12 with about a minute left in the half.
5:32 p.m.: Jones finds, who else, Smith on third down for the conversion. That’s five targets, five catches and 100-plus yards for the receiver. Tide driving at their 46.
5:26 p.m.: Tide get to Book on third-and-8, and he can’t complete the pass to his receiver. Another punt incoming. Alabama will take over at its 23 with fewer than six minutes to play
5:24 p.m.: Alabama again sends pressure on third down, but Book handles it well and throws it to his tight end underneath the coverage. First down Notre Dame at its 41.
5:22 p.m.: Notre Dame takes over again at its 25. Smith, meanwhile, is on the training bike getting looked at by trainers.
5:17 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, ALABAMA. One play later, Jones hits Smith on the slant for a 34-yard touchdown. Smith was slow to get up, but is walking on his own power on the sideline to the Alabama medical tent. It’s 21-7 Alabama with 8:49 left in the half.
5:17 p.m.: Followed promptly by a 15-yard gain to Billingsley, who was draped by a Notre Dame defender. Tide driving at the 34.
5:16 p.m.: Another quick horizontal pass to Smith goes for 24 yards out to the Notre Dame 49. Excellent downfield blocking by Alabama’s skilled players.
5:12 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, NOTRE DAME. Williams takes it in from less than a yard out to get the Irish on the board. It’s 14-7 Alabama with 11:16 left in the half. That drive took 15 plays, traversed 75 yards and ate 8:03 of game clock.
5:11 p.m.: Call stands; Notre Dame’s offense comes back out onto the field.
5:08 p.m.: Another designed run by Book on third-and-goal from the 3. He’s called down short at the goal line, but this is going to review. He was down, but it depends on where Book had the ball before he went down.
5:05 p.m.: Timeout, Notre Dame (12:04)
5:03 p.m.: Two plays later, first down. Notre Dame at the 9 now and in desperate need of a touchdown.
5:02 p.m.: Book finds Williams out of the backfield for a 4-yard gain. Irish have second-and-6 at the 16.
End of first quarter: Alabama 14, Notre Dame 0
4:57 p.m.: Good call by Williams on that play; it looked like it was a busted play, but he made Alabama’s Christian Harris miss in the backfield and gain 9 yards. One play later, Notre Dame nets another first down at the Bama 20.
4:56 p.m.: Notre Dame just gets a first down on third-and-3 at Alabama’s 35. The Irish are likely in four-down territory for the rest of this drive, yardage pending.
4:52 p.m.: Timeout, Notre Dame (2:27)
4:50 p.m.: Notre Dame takes advantage of Alabama’s upfield pass-rush and throws a delayed screen to running back Chris Tyree for a 27-yard gain. The Irish are driving at Alabama’s 45 after the gain.
4:49 p.m.: The Irish are back at it at their 25.
4:45 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, ALABAMA. One play later, Jones finds a wide-open Jahleel Billingsley all alone in the end zone. Smith demanded a double team and left the tight end all by his lonesome. It’s 14-0 Alabama with 4:19 left in the first quarter.
4:45 p.m.: Harris LEAPS over Notre Dame defensive back Nick McCloud and takes it all the way to the Notre Dame 12 for a 53-yard run.
4:43 p.m.: There’s another first down for Alabama, now out to the 35 in three plays (the last by receiver Slade Bolden). Lots of horizontal play-calling early.
4:42 p.m.: Harris gives Alabama some running room, running left 15 yards to the 18.
4:38 p.m.: Jay Bramblett’s punt is near-perfect, rolling 47 yards to be downed at the Bama 3. The Tide will take over there, but officials have to make sure first that the ball didn’t touch any Alabama players.
4:36 p.m.: Notre Dame converts third-and-2 by with a quick 6-yard connection between Book and tight end Michael Mayer, to the 33.
4:34 pm.: Notre Dame takes over at its 25 after the kickoff touchback.
4:30 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, ALABAMA. One target, one catch, one touchdown for Smith. He takes a quick pass and runs it in 26 yards for the touchdown. It’s 7-0 Alabama with 10:14 in the first quarter.
4:28 p.m.: Notre Dame sends pressure, but can’t reach Jones. He rolls out and hits Forristall for 6 yards and a first down — they’re now at the Notre Dame 37.
4:26 p.m.: Alabama starts with a 15-yard catch-and-run by tight end Miller Forristall. The Crimson Tide driving at the 36.
4:25 p.m.: Alabama forces a punt, and will take over at its 21-yard line after the DeVonta Smith fair catch.
4:23 p.m.: Nice 15-yard run by Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams, who bounces the ball out left and gets the Irish a first down at the 27.
4:21 p.m.: Alabama wastes no time showing off its physicality — Josh Jobe comes flying down the field and causes a fumble deep in Notre Dame territory. The Fighting Irish will start their drive at the 8-yard line.
4:19 p.m.: Notre Dame wins the toss and elects to receive the ball first. Here we go.
College Football Playoff schedule
Friday, Jan. 1
|Bowl||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV channel|
|Rose Bowl (AT&T Stadium)||No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Notre Dame||4 p.m.||ESPN, fuboTV|
|Sugar Bowl||No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Ohio State||8 p.m.||ESPN, fuboTV|
Monday, Jan. 11
|Bowl||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV channel|
|CFP championship game (Hard Rock Stadium)||TBD vs. TBD||8 p.m.||ESPN, fuboTV|