Final: No. 1 Alabama 31, No. 4 Notre Dame 14
Top-ranked Alabama will have the chance to win its sixth national championship under Nick Saban after the Crimson Tide defeated No. 4 Notre Dame 31-7 in the Rose Bowl Game. Alabama will face the winner of No. 2 Clemson-No. 3 Ohio State in the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021 in Miami, Florida.
Alabama's three top-10 Heisman Trophy contenders were all outstanding on Friday, when quarterback Mac Jones completed 26-of-31 passes for 303 yards and four touchdowns, with seven catches, 130 yards and three touchdowns going to DeVonta Smith. Running back Najee Harris ran for 125 yards on 15 carries, while Alabama's defense held Notre Dame to 3.7 yards per carry.
Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book scored the Fighting Irish's second touchdown of the night in the final minute of the game to cut the final deficit to 17 points.
Alabama 31, Notre Dame 7
Alabama settled for a field goal for the first time all game but extended its lead over Notre Dame in the process, 31-7. Will Reichard kicked a 41-yard field goal, capping off a 10-play drive that stalled just outside the red zone.
Notre Dame's Ian Book goes to sideline with injury
Notre Dame starting quarterback Ian Book left the game after a hard sack by Christian Barmore late in the third quarter.
Alabama 28, Notre Dame 7
Heisman Trophy contender DeVonta Smith scored his third touchdown of the Rose Bowl Game as Mac Jones found him for a seven-yard touchdown, with Smith keeping his feet inbounds in the near corner of the end zone.
It capped off a five-play, 62-yard scoring drive that started with John Metchie III taking a slant for 40 yards.
Alabama's Christian Harris picks off Notre Dame's Ian Book
Alabama's Christian Harris got his first career interception on Friday night, as he picked off Notre Dame's Ian Book on 2nd & 7 at Notre Dame's 38-yard line. Alabama will take over on offense, stll with a 21-7 lead.
The second half is underway
The second half of the Rose Bowl Game is underway and No. 1 Alabama starts with the ball, with the chance to take a three-possession lead over Notre Dame.
Halftime: Alabama 21, Notre Dame 7
It's halftime of the 2021 Rose Bowl Game, where No. 1 Alabama leads No. 4 Notre Dame 21-7. Heisman Trophy contender wide receiver DeVonta Smith has five catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns as quarterback Mac Jones's top target so far. Jones is 14-for-16 passing for 182 yards and three scores. Running back Najee Harris, who had an incredible hurdle over a defender on a 53-yard scamper, has 93 yards on seven carries at halftime.
Notre Dame, after falling behind 14-0, cut the deficit with a long, meticulous scoring drive that took more than eight minutes of game time. Running back Kyren Williams punched the ball in the end zone on 4th & Goal.
The Fighting Irish had a chance to cut the deficit to 11 points going into halftime but Jonathan Doerer missed a 51-yard field goal late in the first half.
Alabama answers Notre Dame's touchdown with another score
After Notre Dame, which was trailing 14-0, reached the end zone for the first time with a 15-play, 75-yard scoring drive that culminated in Kyren Williams punching the ball in the end zone from one yard out on 4th & Goal, Alabama scored less than 2.5 minutes later. Mac Jones connected with DeVonta Smith again, this time a 34-yard touchdown reception, which put the Crimson Tide ahead 21-7.
Najee Harris's highlight-reel run helps set up another touchdown
Najee Harris hurdled a Notre Dame defender on a 53-yard run on 1st & 10 on Alabama's second possession. One play later, Mac Jones found tight end Jahleel Billingsley for a 12-yard touchdown pass, giving the Crimson Tide a 14-0 lead.
Alabama scores first on DeVonta Smith's touchdown catch
No. 1 Alabama jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead against No. 4 Notre Dame. After forcing the Fighting Irish to punt on the game's opening drive, Alabama embarked on a seven-play, 79-yard scoring drive that was capped off back a screen pass from Mac Jones to DeVonta Smith, who got great downfield blocking from fellow wide receiver John Metchie to score from 26 yards out.
Alabama forces a punt on the opening possession
Alabama's defense (and special teams unit) started the Rose Bowl Game strong, forcing a fumble on the opening kickoff, although it was recovered by Notre Dame. The Crimson Tide then forced Notre Dame to punt after a five-play, 21-yard drive.
The Rose Bowl Game is here
The first of the two College Football Playoff Semifinals will kick off shortly, as No. 1 Alabama makes its sixth playoff appearance and No. 4 Notre Dame makes its second.
Alabama ranks fifth in total offense, while Notre Dame ranks 20th in total defense, so the Fighting Irish will be tasked with trying to slow down Heisman Trophy contenders in Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, wide receiver DeVonta Smith and running back in Najee Harris.
The Crimson Tide defeated Florida in the SEC Championship Game, while the Fighting Irish lost to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, but Notre Dame's regular-season win over the Tigers helped it earn a spot in the playoff.
How to watch Alabama vs. Notre Dame
The College Football Playoff semifinals begin with No. 1 Alabama playing No. 4 Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. Check out a preview, prediction and more below, including past games between the Crimson Tide and the Irish.
Here's how to watch the game:
- Time: 4 p.m. ET
- Date: Friday, Jan. 1, 2021
- TV channel, streaming: ESPN
- Location: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas
Alabama vs. Notre Dame: Preview
The nation's No. 2 passing yards leader.
The nation's third-ranked rusher in yards.
The nation's top receiver — by more than 300 yards.
Good luck, Notre Dame.
Alabama's Mac Jones, Najee Harris (above) and DeVonta Smith would be tough to stop alone. But the Irish will need to find a way to contain the Tide's trio of stars, among others, in a College Football Playoff semifinal at 4 p.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021.
That might mean Notre Dame will have to do what Florida tried — attempt to keep pace with Alabama's high-scoring offense. So Irish QB Ian Book, RB Kyren Williams and the rest of the team will likely need big games.
Though Notre Dame is coming off a blowout loss to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, it did defeat the Tigers earlier this season. Yes, Clemson wasn't at full strength, most notably playing without QB Trevor Lawrence, but Notre Dame has proven it can defeat top-ranked teams.
But this is 'Bama. Notre Dame gets another chance on the sport's biggest stage to silence doubters and shock Alabama.
However, it's hard to look at the obstacle blocking Notre Dame's path to its first national title since 1988. Jones has 3,739 passing yards while completing 76.5 percent of his passes. Harris has 1,262 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns. Smith has a ridiculous 98 catches for 1,511 yards and 17 touchdowns.
The SEC's top challengers have tried to match Alabama — and Florida got close in the SEC Championship. But can Notre Dame do what the Gators and Texas A&M couldn't?