FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — When Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier sizes up the Crimson Tide's challenge in the BCS championship, it comes down to cracking a Notre Dame team that leads the nation in scoring defense.
"They've given up 10.3 points a game, they do a great job of keeping you out of the end zone," Nussmeier said Thursday. "The goal of the game is to score points."
Sounds simple, right? But the Tide and Fighting Irish are alike in that they seldom make reaching the end zone easy for opposing offenses.
Second-ranked Alabama faces No. 1 Notre Dame on Monday in the national title game. As the buildup continued Thursday, the leaders of Alabama's offense talked to reporters about the huge task of facing Notre Dame and All-America linebacker Manti Te'o.
"They do a really good job of making big plays on the defensive side," quarterback AJ McCarron said. "They do a really good job in the red area. I mean, they're first in the nation in almost every category on defense, so they're really good."
Alabama's defenders might take umbrage at part of that. The Tide actually is tops nationally in total and run defense.
There's no disputing the "really good" part, though.