"All Alabama," Kelly said at the time. "I mean, we can't tackle them right now. And who knows why? They're big and physical — I guess I do know why."
Anyone who was watching knew why.
So the first two minutes were all 'Bama, the last two minutes of the half went the Tide's way as well, and the first two minutes of the third quarter ended with Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson throwing an interception near the goal line, a sensational play made by Alabama's HaHa Clinton-Dix to come up with that turnover.
Alabama scored on the ensuing drive, and Te'o stood perfectly still as he took a long look at one of the giant video screens in Sun Life Stadium, studying the replay of that touchdown.
It was a pose that Notre Dame repeated way, way too often.
"We just needed to execute better," safety Zeke Motta said. "It was just a matter of execution and playing the right way."
Missed chances on offense, missed tackles on defense. Kelly didn't pinpoint reasons why for either — months of agonizing over film will tell that story — but some in the Notre Dame locker room insisted that the final score didn't accurately show how far the Irish have come this season.
"They didn't dominate us," Notre Dame nose guard Louis Nix said. "We missed tackles."
The numbers sure suggested domination.
By halftime, the Irish had already given up more points than they had in any game this season, the previous high being 26 in a triple-overtime win over Pittsburgh.
The most yards Notre Dame gave up this season was 379; Alabama cracked the 500 mark early in the fourth quarter. The Crimson Tide finished with 529 yards, converted 8 of 13 third downs, got five touchdowns in five trips to the red zone and became the first team since Stanford in 2009 to score at least 42 points against the Irish.