Each day until the BCS National Championship Game, Daily Bama Blog contributor Brett Hudson will count down to kickoff, giving us bits and pieces of that day’s significance to Alabama and Notre Dame. Today is 20 days until the game, which means Brett is examining the number “20.”
–Notre Dame averages 20 yards a kickoff return this season. The Irish are led by sophomore running back George Atkinson III, whose returns for 304 yards also puts him at an average of roughly 20 yards a return.
–Notre Dame has scored exactly 20 points three times this season: in a 20-17 win over Purdue, the 20-3 win on the road against Michigan State and the 20-13 overtime win against Stanford. Against Purdue, the Irish were led by Tommy Rees, who came off a one-game suspension to save a shaky Everett Golson with a 12-play drive that ended with a field goal to send the Irish to 2-0 (Rees was 3-of-8 passing for 35 yards on the drive). Golson made up for that performance the next week against Michigan State, where he led the Irish to 20 points by throwing for 178 yards and touchdown. In addition he rushed for a score. Notre Dame’s 20 points against the Cardinal was less emphasized than the controversial game-ending goal-line stand.
–Alabama had given up 20 or more first downs only once this season, allowing Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies to accumulate 23. Georgia came closest to the milestone after earning 18 first downs in the SEC Championship game.
–In the 20- to 29-yard field goal range, Notre Dame kicker Kyle Brindza has made 10 of 11, with his one miss coming from 28 yards out against Brigham Young. Also against BYU, Brindza connected on a 24-yard field goal. Alabama’s Jeremy Shelley is perfect from 20-29, having made all six attempts. Overall, he has made all 11 field goals and 63 extra points he has attempted.
–Alabama has two No. 20s on the 2012 roster: senior wide receiver Nathan McAlister and junior defensive back Jarrick Williams. McAlister, who is from Russellville, is a reserve wide receiver who has seen action in particularly one-sided games this season, such as Alabama’s wins over Arkansas and Auburn. Williams, coming to Alabama by way of Vigor High in Mobile, has missed the 2012 season because of a torn ACL in the preseason. Williams played some as a true freshmen, including as the dime defensive back in the Capitol One Bowl.
–Notre Dame’s lone No. 20 is junior running back Cierre Wood. A native of Oxnard, Calif., Wood assembled the 16th 1,000-yard season in Notre Dame history in 2011. In 2012, Wood has carried the ball 110 times for 740 yards (6.7 yards a carry) and four touchdowns. His notable performance this season was his 118-yard and two-touchdown outburst when the Irish battled the Miami Hurricanes at Chicago’s Soldier Field. Wood said he has made a decision regarding leaving Notre Dame early to enter the NFL draft.