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Alabama ready for big-play Irish defense

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 3, 2013 at 9:59 am •  Published: January 3, 2013

Nussmeier's offense has been solid, too, in his first season. 'Bama has already set a school record for points in a season with 500, 23 points better than the 1973 team.

Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon are both 1,000-yard rushers and freshman Amari Cooper has been a front-line receiver who has nine touchdown catches.

Now comes a meeting with a defense that is allowing opponents to score touchdowns on a scant 24 percent of their trips inside the 20-yard line, or the red zone, and has yielded just two rushing touchdowns this season.

"They've created a lot of lost-yardage plays in the red zone, and when you get behind the sticks and you get out of rhythm down there it's very difficult because obviously the field shrinks," Nussmeier said.

Lacy knows how formidable Notre Dame's run defense has been. Then again, Bama has run for 35 touchdowns.

"It's a challenge," Lacy said. "We embrace it, and we're going to try to score more than two touchdowns."