Alabama's winning formula: Run, and run well
By TIM REYNOLDS
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) When Alabama runs, Alabama wins.
That axiom held true once again Monday night in the BCS title game - for the 50th straight time.
The Crimson Tide have rushed for at least 150 yards in a game on 50 different occasions since the start of the 2008 season. And they've won every one of those contests, after rushing for 265 yards on the way to a 42-14 win over Notre Dame.
The last time Alabama ran for more than 150 yards and lost was Nov. 17, 2007, when the Crimson Tide were beaten by Louisiana-Monroe 21-14.
Alabama finished 7-6 that season. In the five seasons that have followed, the Tide now have 61 wins, tying Boise State for the most in major college football over that span.
And, most notably, Alabama now has three of the last four BCS national titles. Naturally, the Tide ran for at least 150 yards in all three of those title tilts.
TRENDING: Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron's model girlfriend, Katherine Webb, became a hot topic on Twitter as her guy was helping the Tide blowout Notre Dame.
Webb gained more than 90,000 twitter followers throughout the game, including Arizona Cardinals defensive linemen Darnell Docket, who tweeted his phone number to her.
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 there 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.
COACHES OF YEAR: Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly was one of four coaches announced Monday as winners of the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award.
Joining Kelly - the Football Bowl Subdivision winner - as honorees was Willie Fritz of Sam Houston State (Football Championship Subdivision); Peter Rossomando of New Haven (Division II) and Glenn Caruso of St. Thomas, Minn. (Division III).
The award is designed to recognize "sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and excellence on and off the field." Each coach will receive a $50,000 donation to be sent to the charity of his choice, and a $20,000 scholarship grant in his name to their school's alumni association.
"These four coaches do so much more than just succeed in the win column," said Archie Manning, chair of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. "They challenge their student-athletes to achieve a level of excellence on the field and in the classroom, and serve as a champion to their community through their charitable endeavors."
MEDIA BLITZ: About 875 media credentials were issued for the BCS title game, and that doesn't even include those requested by ESPN for its television purposes.
In all, about 1,225 applications were received, according to the Orange Bowl Committee.
Both numbers are slightly ahead of the pace for last season's Alabama-LSU game.
NO STAGE FRIGHT: Barrett Jones remembers his first BCS title game, and how he was petrified of what would happen on college football's biggest stage.
Hey, it's old hat now for the Alabama center.
No. 2 Alabama's matchup against No. 1 Notre Dame was Jones' third time in the title game in four years.
"I tell you what, the first national championship game I played in in 2009, I was freaking out in my hotel room," Jones said. "You let the moment get to you and you think, `50 million people are going to be watching this game on TV?' It's a surreal feeling."
Now, no big deal.
"You just have to remember, despite all the lights and all the cameras and all you guys, it's still football," Jones said.
Nervous or not, Jones always enjoyed the same result. Alabama won all three of his title-game appearances, including the 42-14 romp over Notre Dame.
HOMECOMING: When he was 14, Arturo Martinez was essentially told he was dying. Leukemia, stage IV. As bad as it gets.
He made beating cancer look easy. And he had a chance to be part of a national championship team.
Martinez is a walk-on defensive lineman at Notre Dame, the nation's No. 1 team that was facing second-ranked Alabama in the BCS title game. He played high school football at Belen Jesuit - one of the Miami area's top programs - and fell for Notre Dame after seeing a game there.
"I keep telling my parents that I'm high on life right now," Martinez said.
His title dream fell short, with Notre Dame falling to Alabama 42-14.
When the season began, Notre Dame was unranked, hardly believed to be a national-title contender. But Martinez remembers teasing his parents that maybe there would be a chance of everything coming together for the Irish.
Sure enough, they made it to South Florida. All players get six tickets for the BCS game. Martinez, obviously, had no problem finding takers for those.
"I could have used a lot more," Martinez said.
TRENCH BATTLES: Notre Dame nose guard Louis Nix III loves putting certain elements of his life on display for the world to see, primarily through his series of "broadcasts" that have become quite popular on YouTube.
So Nix was asked in recent days if there should a camera that focuses solely on offensive and defensive linemen in games, just so people can see what really happens in the trenches.
Nix was quick to shake his head.
"If they did, I think somebody would get about 17 years if they see what we do in the trenches," Nix said. "The things we do in there is like illegal in like 37 states. I don't think they want to catch that on film."
QUICK POSTGAME: Notre Dame's men's basketball team played at Cincinnati on Monday night.
Irish coach Mike Brey was hoping for a very fast getaway from the arena afterward - for obvious reasons.
With the football team playing Alabama for the national title, Brey and the Irish basketballers had some TV-watching planned. The game time in Cincinnati was moved up a bit to avoid conflicting with the BCS, and Brey said the team would get back to its hotel as soon as it could before returning home on Tuesday.
"What a great night for Notre Dame fans," Brey said.
Well, not exactly. Brey's team topped Cincinnati for its 12th straight win - but the football team's 12-game win streak was snapped with a 42-14 loss to Alabama.
Updated January 8, 2013