Last Updated 12:49 AM, January 02, 2021

No. 1 Alabama defeats No. 4 Notre Dame in College Football Playoff Semifinal

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Breaking down the 2020 Heisman Trophy finalists
2:12
12:16 am, January 2, 2021

Final: No. 1 Alabama 31, No. 4 Notre Dame 14

Kevin Jairaj | USA TODAY Sports Images Alabama's Christian Barmore.

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.

11:53 pm, January 1, 2021

Alabama 31, Notre Dame 7

Kevin Jairaj | USA TODAY Sports Images Alabama's Najee Harris.

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.

11:39 pm, January 1, 2021

Notre Dame's Ian Book goes to sideline with injury

Gary Cosby Jr. | USA TODAY Sports Images Notre Dame's Ian Book.

Notre Dame starting quarterback Ian Book left the game after a hard sack by Christian Barmore late in the third quarter.

11:34 pm, January 1, 2021

Alabama 28, Notre Dame 7

 

Gary Cosby Jr. | USA TODAY Sports Images Alabama's DeVonta Smith.

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.

11:22 pm, January 1, 2021

Alabama's Christian Harris picks off Notre Dame's Ian Book

Gary Cosby Jr. | USA TODAY Sports Images Alabama's Christian Harris.

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.

11:09 pm, January 1, 2021

The second half is underway

Kevin Jairaj | USA TODAY Sports Images Alabama's Najee Harris.

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.

10:40 pm, January 1, 2021

Halftime: Alabama 21, Notre Dame 7

Kirby Lee | USA TODAY Sports Images Alabama's DeVonta Smith had two touchdowns in the first half.

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.

10:05 pm, January 1, 2021

Alabama answers Notre Dame's touchdown with another score

Tim Heitman | USA TODAY Sports Images Notre Dame's Kyren Williams scored Notre Dame's first touchdown.

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.

9:53 pm, January 1, 2021

Najee Harris's highlight-reel run helps set up another touchdown

Kevin Jairaj | USA TODAY Sports Images Alabama's Najee Harris.

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.

9:31 pm, January 1, 2021

Alabama scores first on DeVonta Smith's touchdown catch

Dale Zanine | USA TODAY Sports Images Alabama's DeVonta Smith scored the first touchdown of the Rose Bowl.

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.

9:26 pm, January 1, 2021

Alabama forces a punt on the opening possession

Gary Cosby Jr. | USA TODAY Sports Images AT&T Stadium

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.

9:10 pm, January 1, 2021

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.

3:55 pm, December 24, 2020

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
4:03 pm, December 24, 2020

Alabama vs. Notre Dame: Preview

Getty Images Alabama's Najee Harris.

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?

3:55 pm, December 24, 2020

Alabama vs. Notre Dame: Series history

Notre Dame Athletics Notre Dame quarterback Tom Clements in the 1973 Sugar Bowl.

This game marks the first between the Tide and the Irish in eight seasons, when they met for the BCS National Championship. 'Bama crushed undefeated Notre Dame, 42-14, to win its second consecutive national title.

Notre Dame holds a 5-2 series lead going into the CFP showdown. This isn't the first time a Notre Dame-Alabama game has title implications. At the 1973 Sugar Bowl (above) Notre Dame beat No. 1 Alabama to vault into the top spot in the final AP Poll. The following season, in the 1975 Orange Bowl (1974 season), Notre Dame beat the Tide again to deny Alabama the national title.

Alabama-Notre Dame: Scores, all-time series

DATE LOCATION WINNER SCORE
Jan. 7, 2013 Miami Gardens, FL (BCS National Championship) Alabama 42-14
Nov. 14, 1987 South Bend, IN Notre Dame 37-6
Oct. 4, 1986 Birmingham, AL Alabama 28-10
Nov. 15, 1980 Birmingham, AL Notre Dame 7-0
Nov. 13, 1976 South Bend, IN Notre Dame 21-18
Jan. 1, 1975 Miami, FL (Orange Bowl) Notre Dame 13-11
Dec. 31, 1973 New Orleans, LA (Sugar Bowl) Notre Dame 24-23
4:00 pm, December 24, 2020

Alabama vs. Notre Dame: Stats, how they match up

Alabama is undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the nation. Notre Dame is 10-1 after losing to Clemson in a rematch for the ACC title.

The Crimson Tide beat Florida to win the SEC Championship Game, while Notre Dame lost to Clemson in a rematch for the ACC crown.

Alabama vs. Notre Dame
ALABAMA STAT NOTRE DAME
11-0 (10-0) Record (conference games) 10-1 (9-0)
No. 1 CFP rank No. 4
49.7 Points per game 35.2
19.5 Points allowed 18.6
543.9 Yards per game 455.2
354.1 Pass yards 237.5
189.8 Rush yards 217.6
351.2 Yards allowed 335.1
243.5 Pass yards allowed 224.5
107.6 Rush yards allowed 110.5
Mac Jones
3,739 yards (32 TDs, 4 INT)
Passing leader Ian Book
2,601 yards (15 TDs, 2 INT)
Najee Harris
1,262 yards (24 TDs)
Rushing leader Kyren Williams
1,061 yards (12 TDs)
DeVonta Smith
1,511 yards (17 TDs)
Receiving leader Javon McKinley
697 yards (3 TDs)
Dylan Moses
68 total tackles (6.5 TFL)
Defense Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
68 total tackles (6.5 TFL)