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Critical penalty on Notre Dame the right call, top official says

MIAMI — Angry fans. Good call.

You could tell by their angry reaction after watching the replay on the JumboTron that Notre Dame fans clearly believed they were given a raw deal with 11:03 left in the first quarter when Alabama's Christion Jones fumbled a punt, and the Irish recovered. But officials called Notre Dame for interference, giving the ball back to Alabama. The Tide went on to score on that drive and take a 14-0 lead.

Rogers Redding, the former SEC director of officials who now oversees officials for the NCAA, said the rule is that if a defender is close enough to interfere with the player's ability to catch the ball, it's a penalty. Redding called the official's decision "a good call."

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly disagreed. "They said we ran into the catch, but what I disputed was the validity of the fair catch," Kelly said. "I thought it was an invalid fair catch signal. It would have been nice to get that call, but it didn't change the outcome of the game."

FINALLY, HAPPY: Alabama coach Nick Saban is often associated with his serious nature and seeming lack of ability to enjoy his success. During the postgame news conference, Saban was asked why he didn't appear to be happy. His response: "Whether I look it or not, I'm happy as hell."

INJURY UPDATE: Notre Dame junior DE Kapron Lewis-Moore suffered a "severe knee injury" according to Kelly. Lewis-Moore left the game with 1:06 left in the first half.

LET'S HEAR IT FOR … NOT THE SEC: Let's be honest, if you're not an SEC fan, most likely you weren't cheering for the SEC Monday night. The league, which has now won seven consecutive national titles, is starting to grate on the nerves of college football fans. Alabama has three of the past four, and C Barrett Jones said he can't blame fans who don't like the SEC.

"Seven straight, let's be honest, people are probably getting tired of us," Jones said. "That's all right, we don't really mind. We enjoy being the top dog and enjoy kind of having that target on our back. And we love our conference. Obviously we'd rather not be a part of any other conference."

I'LL TAKE FIVE: Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o has made the No. 5 Irish jersey legendary, but the origin of Te'o and the number five stems from a simple conversation between a little boy and his dad more than a decade ago.

"It's kind of a simple story," Te'o said this week. "My dad and I were driving around Laie (Hawaii) where I grew up. He asked me, 'Son, when you play football, what number do you want to be?' And since I was 5 years old, I said 'five'. I've managed to be lucky enough to carry on that little tradition that I started when I was 5 years old."

TRENCH BATTLES: Notre Dame nose guard Louis Nix III loves putting certain elements of his life on display for the world to see, primarily through his series of "broadcasts" that have become quite popular on YouTube.

So Nix was asked in recent days if there should a camera that focuses solely on offensive and defensive linemen in games, just so people can see what really happens in the trenches.

Nix was quick to shake his head.

"If they did, I think somebody would get about 17 years if they see what we do in the trenches," Nix said. "The things we do in there is like illegal in like 37 states. I don't think they want to catch that on film."

Critical penalty on Notre Dame the right call, top official says 01/07/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 1:06am]

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