— MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — No. 2 Alabama is a quarter away from stamping itself a dynasty.
The Crimson Tide scored touchdowns on its first three drives against No. 1 Notre Dame and rolled to a 35-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter of a BCS championship game that wasn't living up to the hype Monday night.
In a matchup of programs tied for the most AP national championships with eight, Alabama was on its way toward becoming the first team to win consecutive BCS titles — and its third title in four seasons under coach Nick Saban.
The Crimson Tide (12-1) marched with ease on the opening drive, going 82 yards on five plays to take a 7-0 lead on Eddie Lacy's 20-yard touchdown run up the middle with 12:03 left in the first quarter.
Notre Dame (12-0) had allowed only two rushing touchdowns in its surprising run to the championship game. The Fighting Irish were the first team to reach the BCS championship game after starting the season unranked. They were trying to become the first team to go from unranked to national champion since BYU in 1984.
Alabama quickly made the Fighting Irish look as if they were in over their heads.
Notre Dame did nothing to respond to Alabama's opening march, and on its punt back, the Crimson Tide might have caught a break. Returner Christion Jones muffed the kick, but Notre Dame was flagged for interfering with the catch, though it was one of Jones' teammates that made contact with him.
Lacy and the Crimson Tide went right back to work, hammering away at Notre Dame's vaunted defense. The Irish struggled to bring down the 220-pound tailback, who even ran through Heisman Trophy finalist Manti Te'o on a screen pass.
In the second quarter, it was freshman T.J. Yeldon slipping through Te'o's arms in the backfield on a third-down run and getting a first down.