BCS National Championship 2013: Keys to Notre Dame Ending Alabama's Reign

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 7, 2013

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 17:  Deandre Martin #21 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons is tackled by (L-R) Sheldon Day #91; Carlo Calabrese #44 and Louis Nix III #9 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on November 17, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Wake Forest 38-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Notre Dame is the only team standing in the way of Alabama's third national championship in four years and the SEC's seventh straight, but they stand a big chance of taking down the Crimson Tide giants.

The Fighting Irish may not hail from a big conference, but they've had their fair share of top competition this season and have proven through an undefeated record that they deserve a shot at the title. 

On the other hand, the Crimson Tide come in with one blemish but seem as able as ever to take home the crystal football come Monday night.

Here's the biggest keys to a Notre Dame victory in the 2013 BCS National Championship.


Win in the Trenches

We all know that Alabama boasts one of the top offensive lines in college football year by year and constantly produces first-round talent. But their protectors aren't perfect.

In fact, they gave up six sacks to Western Kentucky and three to Georgia earlier this season.

Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix is one of the best defensive linemen in college football, and he'll have to keep as many Tide linemen occupied as possible to free up his fellow rushers. The Irish will need to dominate the line of scrimmage in as many downs as possible to keep Alabama from running for first down after first down.

If they can win at this in the first quarter, it'll give Notre Dame the perfect time to blitz the backfield and put A.J. McCarron on his back.


Get the Ball to Tyler Eifert

If you haven't seen by now, you'll be astonished at what Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert can do on the football field. At 6'6", 251 pounds, it's not hard to see why.

Eifert is one of the most gifted college football players and makes for a daunting matchup for Nick Saban's defensive scheme. If he puts his corners on Eifert he can easily out-leap them in the red zone and pretty much any situation.

But if he tries to use his linebackers, it not only wouldn't work because Eifert runs like a bull, but it frees up the run game, which they need their hard-hitting linebackers to prevent.

Putting bracket coverage on Eifert allows Notre Dame's 1-2 running back attack of Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood (who combined for more than 1,600 yards) to go to work. 

Can you say "mismatch"?


Utilize Everett Golson

Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson isn't Johnny Manziel, but he boasts some incredible similarities and can cause many of the same problems for defenses.

Golson is at times more agile with his feet than with his arm, and he's able to get out of pressure with his quickness. That helped Manziel turn sacks into huge gains and touchdowns. 

While Golson may not turn each of his pressure evasions into TDs, he can prevent big losses and keep drives going with minimal gains. 

No one talks about the Irish's offense, but they can move the chains very well. When Golson gets out of pressure, he'll have to make plays and prove to the Irish faithful why he's been chosen as the signal-caller for their biggest game in decades. 


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