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College Football Playoff: Rose Bowl Game Recap

Alabama embarrassed Notre Dame inside AT&T Stadium in the Rose Bowl Game Friday. The Tide rolled to a 31-14 victory over the Irish. Alabama is now sixty minutes away from being crowned the Kings of the College Football. They will play the winner of tonight’s Sugar Bowl on January 11th in Miami. 

Rose Bowl Game – Game Summary

Alabama jumped out in front of Notre Dame early and they didn’t look back. The Irish never held a lead in this contest. Mac Jones found DeVonta Smith for a 26-yard touchdown pass for the first score of the game on a 7 play, 79-yard drive. 

Alabama would then go 97 yards in 2:11 to increase their lead to 14-0. Mac Jones connected with tight end, Jahleel Billingsley, for a 12-yard touchdown.

Notre Dame did respond to Alabama’s second touchdown drive. The Irish claimed the first score of the second quarter on a Kyren Williams 1-yard touchdown run. Notre Dame went 75 yards in 15 plays and capped off the drive on fourth and goal from the 1-yard line.

The Tide stayed calm and didn’t fold under pressure. The Alabama offense went back to work and constructed a 6 play, 84-yard touchdown drive. DeVonta Smith hauled in his second touchdown reception of the night on a 34-yard strike from Mac Jones.

There was only one touchdown scored in the third quarter. Mac Jones found DeVonta Smith once again to extend their team’s lead to 21 points. In the fourth quarter, the right leg of Alabama kicker, Will Reichard, made the score 31-7 in favor of the Tide.

Ian Book ended his collegiate career with a 1-yard touchdown run for Notre Dame’s final score of the evening. The Irish went 80 yards in 14 plays for their second score of the night. However, this score was meaningless. 

Final: Alabama 31 Notre Dame 14

Rose Bowl Game – Key Performers

DeVonta Smith and Mac Jones were the catalysts for Alabama’s Rose Bowl Game victory. Jones was 25 of 30 for 297 yards and four touchdowns. The junior quarterback was spectacular, but he wasn’t tonight’s MVP.

Devonta Smith caught seven passes for 130 yards and three touchdowns. Notre Dame didn’t have an answer for Smith all night inside AT&T Stadium. Smith solidified why he should be this year’s Heisman Trophy recipient.’

Alabama running back, Najee Harris, had a great showing. Harris accounted for 155 yards of total offense, but he didn’t find the endzone. 

Notre Dame struggled extending drives. They dominated the time of possession, but they couldn’t capitalize in the big moments of the game. No team can beat Alabama by only scoring 14 points. 

Rose Bowl Game – Final Thoughts

Alabama is really good at football. They’re going to be very tough to beat on January 11th in the National Championship Game. The Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith tandem is one of the best combinations that I’ve seen in my lifetime at Alabama.

It was evident that Notre Dame wasn’t in this football game from the opening snap. The Irish were just unable to find a rhythm all night. Ian Book looked confused in the pocket which didn’t allow him to gain any confidence.

Book was 27 of 39 for 229 yards with one interception. I don’t think Brian Kelly put Book in a position to be successful. I didn’t like Notre Dame’s play-calling all game. To beat Alabama, you need to take chances and I felt that the Irish played scared throughout the course of the Rose Bowl Game.

DeVonta Smith deserves the Heisman Trophy. He is going to be a nightmare in the NFL when he adjusts to the new level of play. No team has been able to contain Smith this season. He is a big game wide receiver, and this was apparent every time Alabama had the football tonight. 

Nick Saban is now one win away from his seventh National Championship. If the Tide win on January 11th, Saban would surpass Bear Bryant for the most all-time by a collegiate head coach.

If Alabama plays as good as they did tonight in the National Championship, I have a feeling another title will be making its way back to Tuscaloosa. 

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