The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

BCS Championship

January 8, 2013

The scoreboard, and the clock, both favored 'Bama

(Continued)

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TOUGH CALL: Alabama might have gotten a break early in the BCS title game when the Crimson Tide appeared to fumble a punt — but kept the football anyway.

The Tide held a 7-0 lead when Christion Jones muffed his attempt at fair-catching a Notre Dame punt. The ball was loose and Notre Dame appeared to recover, but officials said the Irish interfered with Jones' try at a catch.

Replays suggested that Jones was hit by one of his own teammates, not any Notre Dame players.

Alabama kept the ball and wound up scoring on the drive for a 14-0 lead, on the way to a 42-14 win.

"What I disputed was the validity of the fair catch," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. "I thought it was an invalid fair-catch signal. The official thought otherwise. And then of course we couldn't tell exactly, but our guys that watched it on the video thought that we did make contact. That would have been a nice play to go our way early in the game. Obviously it didn't go our way, but ... it certainly didn't change the outcome of this football game."

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BIGGEST CROWD: The BCS title game was the most highly attended event in the history of Sun Life Stadium.

The announced attendance for Alabama-Notre Dame was 80,120 — a bit higher than the previous mark of 78,468, set four years ago when Florida and Oklahoma played here for the national championship.

Those 80,120 tickets will result in $80,120 being donated toward a fund for the victims of last month's school massacre in Newtown, Conn. The Orange Bowl Committee announced the donation on Monday night.

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SABAN'S RINGS: Alabama coach Nick Saban is pretty tough to beat in big games.

He's now 8-1 in championship games — 4-1 in Southeastern Conference title matchups during his stints at Alabama and LSU, and 4-0 in games that decided the BCS national title.

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