"This may be the best offensive line that we've had or ever been associated with," Saban said after leading the Tide to its third national title in four years. "The power, the toughness and how physical they are I think is probably a pretty unique quality.
"And I know we have some really good backs too," the coach added with a slight smile. "Eddie makes them miss in the line and gains 20 yards, and the linemen are beating their chests about how they blocked. It's a combination of all 11 players."
That included McCarron. Facing an ineffective pass rush, he hit eight of his first nine passes, including a 3-yard toss to Michael Williams for the second touchdown.
The early clock-eating drives took Notre Dame's offense out of the game. The Irish gained only 23 yards before Alabama had 21 points. Time of possession at that juncture was 12:12 for the Crimson Tide to 2:52 for the Fighting Irish.
The first scoring drive — which took only five plays — was the longest the Irish had allowed all season.
But while Notre Dame's defense wasn't accustomed to being pushed around in such a manner, Fluker said the Tide saw it coming. The team was encouraged studying when the Irish's 21-6 victory two months ago against Boston College, Fluker said.
"We saw Boston College push them around," he said. "We knew that if they could do it, we could do it. They were kind of predictable on defense. We knew what they would do, so it was just a matter of executing."
Jones missed considerable practice time leading up to the game because of his foot injury, and said his teammates up front took up the slack for him.
"I wasn't really 100 percent," Jones said. "It was painful, but you couldn't have pulled me off the field with a tractor."