Robert Lester heads into his final game at UA with 14 career interceptions.
Three Notre Dame offensive performers to watch in Alabama's BCS Championship Game matchup with the Irish.
5 Everett Golson
2012 accolades: Offensive Newcomer of the Year, as selected by the Notre Dame coaching staff.
How he'll impact the game: There's been talk of the athletic Golson making a Johnny Manziel-like impression on the Alabama defense. Perhaps that will prove to be accurate, but so far this season the sophomore has been more distributor than playmaker, passing for 2,135 yards and rushing for 305 more. He's accounted for 16 total touchdowns and has turned the ball over nine times (five interceptions and four lost fumbles).
Who he'll see the most of: When working from the pocket, Golson will be a focal point for UA safeties Robert Lester and HaHa Clinton-Dix, who lead the Crimson Tide defense with four interceptions each. When he breaks the pocket, Alabama's inside linebackers will enter the picture.
SEC comparable: South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw. Similar in size (6'1, 207) and skill set to Golson (6'0, 185), Shaw has accounted for 2,071 total yards and 18 total touchdowns this season.
80 Tyler Eifert
Position: Tight end
2012 accolades: Mackey Award winner, which annually goes to the nation's top tight end. Walter Camp all-american. Notre Dame's Offensive Player of the Year, as selected by the Irish coaching staff.
How he'll impact the game: A large (6'6, 251), athletic target who will be counted on to convert third downs and come up big in the red zone, Eifert enters the season finale riding a hot streak. Of his 44 receptions this season, 22 have come in his last four games.
Who he'll see the most of: When Alabama is in its base and nickel defenses, look for the Crimson Tide to play Eifert, who will work from the traditional tight end and H spots in addition to being flexed out to the slot, with an inside linebacker underneath and a safety over the top. When UA goes with six defensive backs, dime back Vinnie Sunseri will likely be on the clock. In the red zone, especially inside the 10, Notre Dame likes to split Eifert out to the boundary and go to the fade, which is where UA cornerback Dee Milliner lines up.
SEC comparable: Probably Florida's Jordan Reed, although, in terms of tight ends Alabama has faced this season, Western Kentucky's Jack Doyle (6'6, 253) is probably a better comparison. Doyle, who caught a season-high seven passes for 45 yards in the Hilltoppers' 35-0 loss to UA on Sept. 8, will have his name called in the 2013 NFL Draft.
52 Braxston Cave
2012 accolades: Father Lange Iron Cross award, as selected by Notre Dame strength and conditioning director Paul Longo. Third-team all-america honors from the Associated Press.
How he'll impact the game: Cave, a fifth-year senior who has 34 career starts to his credit, will present a strong challenge to Alabama nose tackle Jesse Williams. The matchup between weight room warriors will go a long way in determining the amount of success Notre Dame has on the ground.
Who he'll see the most of: Mostly Williams, but a sprinkling of backup nose guard Brandon Ivory is a good bet as well. When the Alabama defense goes to its nickel and dime packages, an uncovered Cave will look to get on the second level in the run game.
SEC comparable: Tennessee's James Stone, who at 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds, compares favorably to the 6-foot-3, 304-pound Cave in terms of size and ability.
Also see: TRips: Three Irish defenders to watch
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