A No. 1 underdog? Kelly says Irish must take Alabama's title

  • Article by: NEWS SERVICES
  • Updated: January 6, 2013 - 10:52 PM

MIAMI - Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has no problem with his team being the underdog in Monday night's BCS Championship Game against Alabama, even though the Irish are undefeated and ranked No. 1.

"Somebody has got to be an underdog. I would say Alabama has got the belt and they deserve the belt," he said. "We've got to take it from them."

What will Kelly tell his players in his pregame speech?

"They're not going to give it to you. As much as you would like for them to give the game over to you, it won't happen that way," he said. "... If you're just going to sit back and let it happen to you, it's probably going to pass you by."

Jones should be healthy

Alabama center Barrett Jones, who has dealt with an injured left foot, said he expected to be "100 percent come game time." Monday will mark the 50th career start for the senior, who'll have a tough matchup versus Notre Dame nose guard Louis Nix III.

"I really think it's about who controls the line of scrimmage," Kelly said.

Polynesian pride

Nose guard Jesse Williams, who made a jump from Australia to Alabama, said he feels a bond with Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, who is from Hawaii. Te'o concurred, saying it's because both are Polynesian. Te'o said he didn't know Williams' heritage until he saw his tattoos, which he noted provide "a great tale for a Polynesian player."

"Immediately, I knew not only who he was [by his tattoos], but what he stood for because it permeates through every Polynesian player out there," Te'o said.

Big-play Cooper

Tide freshman Amari Cooper has more catches (53), receiving yards (895) and receiving touchdowns (nine) than Alabama's next two leading receivers -- Kevin Norwood and Christion Jones -- combined.

"Coop makes a lot of big plays for us," quarterback AJ McCarron said. "He allows us to spread the ball around the field ... [and] takes the pressure off our other guys and allows them to be in one-on-one opportunities."

Follow the Manziel Plan?

Kelly said the Irish don't go into Monday's championship thinking, "We're gonna Johnny Manziel you to death," referring to the Heisman Trophy winner's success in Texas A&M's victory against Alabama. But the Irish are going to have to produce some "big-chunk plays," which Kelly defined as runs of 15-plus yards and passes for 25-plus yards.

"If we struggle getting big-chunk plays, it's going to be a long [night]," Kelly said.

Exceeding expectations

Alabama coach Nick Saban said this year's Tide team has "exceeded expectations" in reaching the championship. Senior defensive end Damion Square noted that the 2010 Tide actually had more NFL-caliber talent than this year's squad.

"You can have guys with great talent, but if they're not willing to play and prepare like these guys on this team, then you'll have the results we had in 2010," Square said. "We've got guys on our team that are willing to play hard."

Etc.

• Pac-12 officials will handle the BCS Championship Game. Alabama was tied third in the country in fewest penalties per game at 3.8 for 32.8 yards. Notre Dame was tied for 51st at 5.7 penalties per game for 42.9 yards.

  • NOTES

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Marshall 52 FINAL
Northern Ill 23
Navy 17 FINAL
San Diego St 16
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 2nd Qtr 8:53
Rice 16
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Twins' offseason moves so far?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close