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Alabama blocks its way past Irish for title, 42-14

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Alabama blocks its way past Irish for title, 42-14

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) When Alabama's first-team offense came off the field for the final time in the BCS championship game, center Barrett Jones skipped toward the bench like a 302-pound schoolboy, waving his arms toward the cheering Crimson Tide fans.

Jones' unit went out with a roar Monday, steamrolling Notre Dame from the start to help Alabama win 42-14.

The Tide's vaunted offensive line blew the Fighting Irish off the ball, and after three possessions Alabama had 203 yards and a 21-0 lead. The most anticipated matchup in the title game - Bama's running attack against Notre Dame's stout run defense - quickly became no contest, and so did the game.

``We couldn't be happier with the way we came out and started the game,'' said Jones, who played with torn ligaments in his left foot and will require surgery. ``We knew we wanted to run the ball and hit them early, and I think that's what we did.''

On its first three series, Alabama mounted touchdown drives of 82, 61 and 80 yards.

``Notre Dame had a really highly rated statistical defensive team,'' Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said. ``I thought a real challenge for us in the game was how we would control the line of scrimmage. That's probably the thing that was most surprising to me - how we were able to control the line of scrimmage, especially early in the game.''

Alabama dominated with an offensive line that includes three All-Americans - first-teamers Jones and left guard Chance Warmack, and second-teamer D.J. Fluker at right tackle. They created gaping holes against a team ranked fourth in the nation in run defense, and neutralized Heisman Trophy finalist Manti Te'o, who became a nonfactor.

The blocking gave Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon plenty of room to run, and A.J. McCarron lots of time to throw.

``This may be the best offensive line that we've had or ever been associated with,'' Saban said after leading the Tide to its third national title in four years. ``The power, the toughness and how physical they are I think is probably a pretty unique quality.

``And I know we have some really good backs too,'' the coach added with a slight smile. ``Eddie makes them miss in the line and gains 20 yards, and the linemen are beating their chests about how they blocked. It's a combination of all 11 players.''

That included McCarron. Facing an ineffective pass rush, he hit eight of his first nine passes, including a 3-yard toss to Michael Williams for the second touchdown.

The early clock-eating drives took Notre Dame's offense out of the game. The Irish gained only 23 yards before Alabama had 21 points. Time of possession at that juncture was 12:12 for the Crimson Tide to 2:52 for the Fighting Irish.

The first scoring drive - which took only five plays - was the longest the Irish had allowed all season.

But while Notre Dame's defense wasn't accustomed to being pushed around in such a manner, Fluker said the Tide saw it coming. The team was encouraged studying when the Irish's 21-6 victory two months ago against Boston College, Fluker said.

``We saw Boston College push them around,'' he said. ``We knew that if they could do it, we could do it. They were kind of predictable on defense. We knew what they would do, so it was just a matter of executing.''

Jones missed considerable practice time leading up to the game because of his foot injury, and said his teammates up front took up the slack for him.

``I wasn't really 100 percent,'' Jones said. ``It was painful, but you couldn't have pulled me off the field with a tractor.''

Most of the time in the early going, the Tide ran to the left and away from Te'o, and Alabama's linemen repeatedly locked him up. When Lacy ran up the middle for a 20-yard gain on third-and-1 to the Notre Dame 3, Te'o was blocked out of play by Warmack and ended up chasing the play from behind.

Jones helped knock Te'o aside when Yeldon ran over right guard for a 1-yard score to make it 21-0. That was the second rushing touchdown allowed by the Irish, matching what they gave up during the entire regular season.

Notre Dame had allowed only two players to rush for 100 yards, but Lacy finished with 140 and Yeldon added 108.

``Everybody knows about Alabama's offensive line,'' Te'o said. ``They're very big, and they're very athletic and very strong. They just did what Alabama does.''

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The Wizards dominated Game 3 because everybody ate ... literally

The Wizards dominated Game 3 because everybody ate ... literally

The Wizards returned to Washington, D.C. on Friday down 0-2 to the Raptors in their best-of-seven 2018 NBA Playoffs first-round series

The team lost a close one in Game 1 and was run out of the building in Game 2. Game 3 was must-win, and the Wizards knew what needed to happen in order for them to secure the victory.

"Everybody eats." 

That's the phrase that has defined the Wizards throughout much of the season They are at their best when John Wall is making players and feeding his teammates.

On Friday night, the Wizards beat the Raptors 122-103 to force at least a Game 5. Wall finished with 28 points and 14 assists.

Bradley Beal finally broke out of his slump for 28 points and  Marcin Gortat, Mike Scott and Kelly Oubre all chipped in with at least 10 points.

But the stat sheet wasn't the only place where everybody eats.

Here's Marcin Gortat from Game 3. 

But if pantomiming isn't your thing, here is Bradley Beal actually eating popcorn during Game 3.

So what did we learn in Game 3? Well, for starters: "Everybody Eats" is not just a motto, it is a way of life.

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

GORTAT DITCHES MOHAWK, TEAMMATES APPROVE

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM WILD GAME 3

BEAL GOT AN APOLOGY FROM SCOTT BROOKS

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With Playoff Beal back, the Wizards are revitalized in playoff series vs. Raptors

With Playoff Beal back, the Wizards are revitalized in playoff series vs. Raptors

The Toronto Raptors were only going to hold Bradley Beal down for so long. After two so-so games to begin the Wizards-Raptors playoff series, the All-Star shooting guard was bound to find his way offensively and that arrival came in a Game 3 win on Friday night.

Beal was brilliant and much more in line with what he's shown in the postseason throughout his career. Game 2 was his worst playoff game as an NBA player, he scored only nine points. Game 3 was one of his best on the postseason stage, or at least one of his most timely and important.

The Wizards needed more from Beal to give themsevles a chance in this series. An 0-3 deficit would have been a death sentence. His production is so key to their success that head coach Scott Brooks and point guard John Wall met with Beal in between Games 2 and 3 to figure out how to get him going.

Whether that was the catalyst or not, the results followed. Beal poured in 28 points in 10-for-19 shooting with four rebounds, four assists and three steals. He hit four threes, more than he had in the first two games combined.

Beal wasted no time to make an impact scoring the ball. His first points came on a quick burst to the basket where he stopped on a dime, turned around and banked it in. By the end of the first quarter, he had 12 points in 11 minutes.

“I just wanted to be aggressive, get shots that I wanted which is what they were going to force me to take," Beal said.

After Game 2, Brooks and Beal described how physical the Raptors were defending him. They were holding on to him and staying close, even when he wasn't moving off the ball.

Brooks saw a difference in how Beal responded to that in Game 3.

"Brad came out and was looking to go towards the basket and not just letting them hold him and going along with it. He didn’t want to dance with his opponent, he wanted to get away from them. That was a critical part of his success," Brooks said.

Beal's 28 points were as much as he scored in Games 1 and 2 together and just about what he averaged through four games against the Raptors during the regular season (28.8). By halftime of Game 3, Beal had 21 points on 8-for-11 from the field.

Beal hit two threes in the first quarter and another two in the second quarter. Several of those threes were set up by Wall, who used the meeting with Brooks and Beal to ask how he can set him up better as the point guard.

In Game 3, they were on the same page.

"I do think this man [John Wall] next to me, he creates and facilitates for the whole team and gets everybody easy shots," Beal said. "I talk to you guys all the time and I can’t tell you the last time I actually got a regular catch and shoot three just in a regular half court set. When he came back, I got like three or four off the bat."

What Beal did in Game 3 is what the Wizards are used to seeing from him this time of the year. Despite being only 24 years old, he has a strong track record in the playoffs.

Through 37 career postseason games, Beal is averaging 22.3 points, more than his career average of 18.7 in the regular season. In each of his previous three postseason runs, he has averaged more points during the playoffs than he did in the regular seasons leading up.

That production has earned him the nickname 'Playoff Beal' and when he goes off like he did in Game 3, good things usually happen. The Wizards are 10-6 in the playoffs during his career when he scores 25 points or more.

Wall also boasts impressive career numbers in the playoffs. When the Wizards have both of their stars playing at their best, they are hard to beat. With peak Beal on board, this series looks a lot different than it did not that long ago.

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

GORTAT DITCHES MOHAWK, TEAMMATES APPROVE

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM WILD GAME 3

BEAL GOT AN APOLOGY FROM SCOTT BROOKS

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