The first of the College Football Playoff semifinal games is set to take place between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Notre Dame.
The top-ranked Crimson Tide — favored by nearly three touchdowns against the Fighting Irish — are historic favorites in their Rose Bowl Game matchup, and a lot of that has to do with their incredible offense. That starts with quarterback Doak Walker Award finalist Najee Harris, Heisman finalist Mac Jones and Sporting News Player of the Year DeVonta Smith. How much success will they see against an Irish defense that ranks 21st nationally in total defense and 14th in scoring defense?
Conversely, Notre Dame will look to quarterback Ian Book, running back Kyren Williams and several talented tight ends — a group that put up 47 points against No. 2 Clemson in a regular season win — to keep Alabama off balance. The Crimson Tide defense has something to prove after giving up 46 points in a narrow SEC championship game win, and will likely throw a barrage of blitzes at Book to keep him from settling in and finding his receivers.
Alabama vs. Notre Dame score
Alabama vs. Notre Dame live updates, highlights
All times ET
Fourth quarter: Alabama 31, Notre Dame 7
6:55 p.m.: Notre Dame throws a tall ball down the sideline, but his receiver brings it in after bobbling it. It’s first down Notre Dame from its 43.
6:54 p.m.: Notre Dame, fair catch, 25-yard line. Routine.
6:52 p.m.: Good news, it looks as if Book will be able to come back out after the injury.
6:50 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, ALABAMA. Will Reichard remains perfect thus far for the season. He boots a 41-yarder through the uprights to make it 31-7 Alabama with 12:45 minutes in the game. He’s now 13 for 13 on the year in field goal attempts.
6:49 p.m.: There’s the first carry for backup Brian Robinson. He goes for 1 yard to make it third-and-9. Alabama seems intent to run out the clock more than up the score.
6:48 p.m.: Third down? Give it to Harris. He gets 13 yards to the Alabama 29 for a first down.
End of third quarter: Alabama 28, Notre Dame 7
6:44 p.m.: A 2-yard gain by Harris leaves third-and-8 for Alabama to convert at Notre Dame’s 42. They’ll attempt that with the first play of the fourth quarter.
6:43 p.m.: Jones finds a couple of targets in Forristall and Bolden to give Alabama a first down at the Notre Dame 44.
6:41 p.m.: Smith nearly broke another punt return for a touchdown, but will settle for a 20-yard return to get Alabama to the 30-yard line.
6:40 p.m.: Backup Drew Pyne is in to finish out the drive for Book. It lasts two plays as Bama forces a punt on fourth-and-16.
6:36 p.m.: Timeout called on the field. Book’s down after the sack — he took the full brunt of Barmore’s 310-pound frame.
6:35 p.m.: And there’s the first sack of the game! Alabama’s Christian Barmore bullrushes the guard and center to sack Book for a 14-yard loss back to the 30.
6:34 p.m.: Sophomore Byron Young got a little extra shove on Book on a throw-away play. That’s a 15-yard penalty, giving NOtre Dame the ball at its own 44.
6:33 p.m.: Notre Dame calls for the fair catch and gets the ball at its 25.
6:30 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, ALABAMA. One play later, Jones rolls right and hits Smith for a toe-tapping touchdown. He got both feet in, too. That makes it 28-7 Alabama with 4:58 left in the third quarter.
6:28 p.m.: Jones scrambles on third-and-4 and gets more than enough for a first down. Tide now have first-and-goal at the Notre Dame 7.
6:26 p.m.: Harris gets the penalty back on the ensuing play; Notre Dame is forcing Jones to force it down to his checkdowns.
6:25 p.m.: Owens is called for holding on first-and-10, the first penalty by either team. Tide have it first-and-20 from Notre Dame’s 32.
6:24 p.m.: Jones hits Metchie on the slant, and he takes it a 40 yards down to Notre Dame’s 22. He fell in behind Smith who served as his lead blocker for most of that run down the sideline.
6:20 p.m.: Interception, Alabama. Harris is in coverage of Mayer, gets underneath the throw and gives Alabama the ball at its 39-yard line. First turnover of the day for either team.
6:19 p.m.: Another first down for the Irish after Book finds Michael Mayer in the flat. Notre Dame is driving at its 34.
6:17 p.m.: First down Notre Dame at the 21 after Book got the ball to Williams out of the backfield.
6:15 p.m.: Charlie Scott’s punt goes 36 yards and will be downed at fair-caught at the Notre Dame 10.
6:12 p.m.: Jones’ third-down pass is deflected at the line of scrimmage back into his hands. Jones takes the loss, forcing a punt. Of note: Butkus Award-winning linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah got the deflection by pushing upfield on center Chris Owens — Landon Dickerson’s replacement.
6:11 p.m.: The toss left to Harris on third-and-1 goes for 6 yards and is good for a first down. Alabama is now driving at Notre Dame’s 37.
6:09 p.m.: Jones lofts a ball up to Smith, and the latter goes up to collect it for a 22-yard gain out to the 49.
6:07 p.m.: The second-half kick goes for a touchback, giving Alabama the ball at its 25.
Halftime: Alabama 21, Notre Dame 7
5:48 p.m.: Halftime stats:
Total yards: Alabama 278; Notre Dame 189
Passing: Alabama 14 for 16, 182 yards, three touchdowns; Notre Dame 10 for 15, 84 yards
Rushing: Alabama 12 rushes for 97 yards; Notre Dame 24 rushes for 105 yards
First downs: Alabama 15; Notre Dame 9
Third down efficiency: Alabama 3 for 4; Notre Dame 5 for 10 (1 for 1 fourth down)
Time of possession: Alabama 12:15; Notre Dame 17:45
5:46 p.m.: Bama takes a knee to end the half.
5:45 p.m.: Missed field goal, Notre Dame. Doerer drove it low on the long attempt, and an Alabama defender may have got a hand on it.
5:44 p.m.: It’s fourth down Notre Dame at the Alabama 33, setting up a 50-yard field goal attempt for Jonathan Doerer.
5:43 p.m.: Timeout, Notre Dame (0:11)
5:42 p.m.: And now Book finds Ben Skowronek for a 20-yard gain to the Alabama 40. Notre Dame has 18 seconds left after the spike.
5:41 p.m.: And now there’s a 19-yard designed quarterback draw. That gets Notre Dame to its 40-yard line with 34 seconds left.
5:40 p.m.: Good coverage forces a Book scramble. It’s second-and-1 at the 21 with 37 seconds.
5:40 p.m.: Notre Dame to take over at its 11 with 44 seconds remaining.
5:38 p.m.: Alabama’s stopped for the first time after Jones’ back-shoulder throw to John Metchie III falls incomplete. Bama wants a penalty on McCloud, but won’t get one. Big stop for Notre Dame, considering the Crimson Tide get the ball out of the half.
5:35 p.m.: Timeout, Alabama (0:56)
5:34 p.m.: Alabama gets a little cute with the play-calling, trying to get Smith going on a reverse of sorts. Notre Dame tackles him for a loss of 6, giving the Tide third-and-12 with about a minute left in the half.
5:32 p.m.: Jones finds, who else, Smith on third down for the conversion. That’s five targets, five catches and 100-plus yards for the receiver. Tide driving at their 46.
5:26 p.m.: Tide get to Book on third-and-8, and he can’t complete the pass to his receiver. Another punt incoming. Alabama will take over at its 23 with fewer than six minutes to play
5:24 p.m.: Alabama again sends pressure on third down, but Book handles it well and throws it to his tight end underneath the coverage. First down Notre Dame at its 41.
5:22 p.m.: Notre Dame takes over again at its 25. Smith, meanwhile, is on the training bike getting looked at by trainers.
5:17 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, ALABAMA. One play later, Jones hits Smith on the slant for a 34-yard touchdown. Smith was slow to get up, but is walking on his own power on the sideline to the Alabama medical tent. It’s 21-7 Alabama with 8:49 left in the half.
5:17 p.m.: Followed promptly by a 15-yard gain to Billingsley, who was draped by a Notre Dame defender. Tide driving at the 34.
5:16 p.m.: Another quick horizontal pass to Smith goes for 24 yards out to the Notre Dame 49. Excellent downfield blocking by Alabama’s skilled players.
5:12 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, NOTRE DAME. Williams takes it in from less than a yard out to get the Irish on the board. It’s 14-7 Alabama with 11:16 left in the half. That drive took 15 plays, traversed 75 yards and ate 8:03 of game clock.
5:11 p.m.: Call stands; Notre Dame’s offense comes back out onto the field.
5:08 p.m.: Another designed run by Book on third-and-goal from the 3. He’s called down short at the goal line, but this is going to review. He was down, but it depends on where Book had the ball before he went down.
5:05 p.m.: Timeout, Notre Dame (12:04)
5:03 p.m.: Two plays later, first down. Notre Dame at the 9 now and in desperate need of a touchdown.
5:02 p.m.: Book finds Williams out of the backfield for a 4-yard gain. Irish have second-and-6 at the 16.
End of first quarter: Alabama 14, Notre Dame 0
4:57 p.m.: Good call by Williams on that play; it looked like it was a busted play, but he made Alabama’s Christian Harris miss in the backfield and gain 9 yards. One play later, Notre Dame nets another first down at the Bama 20.
4:56 p.m.: Notre Dame just gets a first down on third-and-3 at Alabama’s 35. The Irish are likely in four-down territory for the rest of this drive, yardage pending.
4:52 p.m.: Timeout, Notre Dame (2:27)
4:50 p.m.: Notre Dame takes advantage of Alabama’s upfield pass-rush and throws a delayed screen to running back Chris Tyree for a 27-yard gain. The Irish are driving at Alabama’s 45 after the gain.
4:49 p.m.: The Irish are back at it at their 25.
4:45 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, ALABAMA. One play later, Jones finds a wide-open Jahleel Billingsley all alone in the end zone. Smith demanded a double team and left the tight end all by his lonesome. It’s 14-0 Alabama with 4:19 left in the first quarter.
4:45 p.m.: Harris LEAPS over Notre Dame defensive back Nick McCloud and takes it all the way to the Notre Dame 12 for a 53-yard run.
4:43 p.m.: There’s another first down for Alabama, now out to the 35 in three plays (the last by receiver Slade Bolden). Lots of horizontal play-calling early.
4:42 p.m.: Harris gives Alabama some running room, running left 15 yards to the 18.
4:38 p.m.: Jay Bramblett’s punt is near-perfect, rolling 47 yards to be downed at the Bama 3. The Tide will take over there, but officials have to make sure first that the ball didn’t touch any Alabama players.
4:36 p.m.: Notre Dame converts third-and-2 by with a quick 6-yard connection between Book and tight end Michael Mayer, to the 33.
4:34 pm.: Notre Dame takes over at its 25 after the kickoff touchback.
4:30 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, ALABAMA. One target, one catch, one touchdown for Smith. He takes a quick pass and runs it in 26 yards for the touchdown. It’s 7-0 Alabama with 10:14 in the first quarter.
4:28 p.m.: Notre Dame sends pressure, but can’t reach Jones. He rolls out and hits Forristall for 6 yards and a first down — they’re now at the Notre Dame 37.
4:26 p.m.: Alabama starts with a 15-yard catch-and-run by tight end Miller Forristall. The Crimson Tide driving at the 36.
4:25 p.m.: Alabama forces a punt, and will take over at its 21-yard line after the DeVonta Smith fair catch.
4:23 p.m.: Nice 15-yard run by Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams, who bounces the ball out left and gets the Irish a first down at the 27.
4:21 p.m.: Alabama wastes no time showing off its physicality — Josh Jobe comes flying down the field and causes a fumble deep in Notre Dame territory. The Fighting Irish will start their drive at the 8-yard line.
4:19 p.m.: Notre Dame wins the toss and elects to receive the ball first. Here we go.
College Football Playoff schedule
Friday, Jan. 1
|Bowl||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV channel|
|Rose Bowl (AT&T Stadium)||No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Notre Dame||4 p.m.||ESPN, fuboTV|
|Sugar Bowl||No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Ohio State||8 p.m.||ESPN, fuboTV|
Monday, Jan. 11
|Bowl||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV channel|
|CFP championship game (Hard Rock Stadium)||TBD vs. TBD||8 p.m.||ESPN, fuboTV|