No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Notre Dame move CFP clash to Texas

ARLINGTON, Texas — Enjoying a Rose Bowl sport deep within the middle of Texas is anything else however customary. Best-ranked Alabama being in a School Soccer Playoff semifinal sport is not anything new.

The SEC champion Red Tide (11-Zero) are in a well-recognized place in spite of the chaos of taking part in all through the pandemic. No. Four Notre Dame, which completed runner-up within the ACC after briefly giving up its beloved unbiased standing, will get any other playoff likelihood two years after a giant thud in the similar stadium.

“We are going to stay knocking on the door. We do not concentrate to the narratives about what Notre Dame can and can not do,” Preventing Irish trainer Brian Kelly mentioned Thursday. “We are simply excited that we are going to stay banging at this door and we are going to get thru.”

Those Irish (10-1) move into the relocated Rose Bowl on New Yr’s Day as three-touchdown underdogs in opposition to Alabama and the Tide’s Heisman Trophy finalists, quarterback Mac Jones and receiver DeVonta Smith. The sport was once moved to AT&T Stadium from its conventional house in Pasadena on account of COVID-19 restrictions in California that may have stored circle of relatives — and some other enthusiasts — from attending.

When the Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium was once a semifinal two years in the past, Notre Dame misplaced 30-Three to eventual nationwide champion Clemson in its most effective earlier CFP look. The No. 2 Tigers, who avenged their most effective loss by means of beating the Irish 34-10 within the ACC identify sport, play Ohio State on this season’s different semifinal Friday night time on the Sugar Bowl.

The semifinal winners are scheduled to play Jan. 11 in suburban Miami, the place 8 seasons in the past within the BCS nationwide championship sport Alabama trounced Notre Dame 42-14 within the closing assembly between the storied systems.

“Even after going undefeated that 12 months, we misplaced within the nationwide championship sport, and we had been checked out as now not an excellent soccer group,” Kelly mentioned. “We would have liked to take a look at the issues that might lend a hand us develop. And we’ve been doing that each and every and annually.”

Notre Dame continues to be seeking to meet up with Alabama, which is in a CFP semifinal for the 6th time after lacking the general 4 for the one time closing 12 months. The Tide are Four-Zero on the house of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, together with 38-Zero over Michigan State 5 seasons in the past on how to a countrywide championship. They received any other identify, their 5th total below trainer Nick Saban, 3 seasons in the past.

“It approach so much to come back again right here achieve our vacation spot, to stay on development the usual right here,” All-American cornerback Patrick Surtain II mentioned.

“We simply need to profit from the place we’re at,” mentioned Jones, the junior who has thrown for three,739 yards and 32 touchdowns with 4 interceptions in his first complete season because the starter. “We’re in spite of everything the place we need to be.”

MISSING IN THE MIDDLE

Alabama might be with out All-The us middle Landon Dickerson, a group captain who’s convalescing from surgical procedure after injuring his knee past due within the SEC identify sport.

“He’s been an excellent chief on our group and can for sure be ignored,” Saban mentioned.

Chris Owens, a senior from Arlington, Texas, would be the beginning middle in opposition to the Irish.

SKILL SETS

Alabama’s offense has Heisman finalists Jones and Smith, plus a big-scoring, dual-threat tailback in Najee Harris, who has rushed for 1,262 yards and 24 touchdowns, and stuck 32 passes for 316 yards and 3 extra rankings.

Smith has 98 catches for 1,511 yards and 17 TDs. Jones has finished 76.five% of his passes for three,739 yards with 32 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.

Ian E-book, a fifth-year senior and two-time captain, is Notre Dame’s winningest beginning quarterback at 30-Four. He has thrown for two,601 yards and 15 TDs, with 430 yards and 8 rankings speeding. Sophomore operating again Kyren Williams has 1,061 yards speeding with 12 TDs, and Javon McKinley has 4 100-yard receiving video games.

QUICK TURNAROUND

The Rose Bowl would be the 2d New Yr’s Six sport performed at AT&T Stadium in lower than 48 hours. Oklahoma beat Florida 55-20 within the Cotton Bowl on Wednesday night time, and the turnover of the stadium started nearly instantly in a while. That sport had a restricted capability crowd of 17,323, and the Rose Bowl attendance must be equivalent.

SHORT TRIP

Like they might all through the common season, the Red Tide traveled from campus Thursday, the day earlier than the sport.

“Simply going lately as though this can be a customary highway commute for us, however not at all an ordinary sport for us,” Saban mentioned.

FRIENDLY FOES

Alabama RB Harris and Notre Dame QB E-book, who grew up 90 miles from each and every different in Northern California, as soon as had been 7-on-7 teammates for TMP of Sacramento.

“The plan was once if we had been ever down, you simply throw it up and Najee would move catch it. He was once taking part in receiver for us. And he did that. That’s how we had been ready to win some video games,” E-book mentioned.

“He does an ideal task getting the ball to his playmakers,” Harris mentioned.

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AP freelance author John Fineran contributed to this document.

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Extra AP faculty soccer: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP—Best25

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