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Notre Dame Scores Late Touchdown vs. Alabama for Backdoor Cover in Rose Bowl Loss

The new year is only a day old, but we already have an early leader in the clubhouse for the worst bad beat of 2021.

When the Rose Bowl Game between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Notre Dame kicked, off, the Crimson Tide were favored by 19 points (or somewhere in that vicinity, depending on where you prefer to get your lines). Alabama controlled the game the entire way and led, 31–7, early in the fourth quarter and appeared on its way to covering the spread.

Alas, somebody forgot to close the back door.

Notre Dame took over on its own 20-yard line trailing by 24 with 5:25 remaining, then proceeded to go on a 14-play scoring drive to get inside the number and break the hearts of Alabama bettors everywhere. The drive featured a fourth-down conversion from midfield and ended on an eight-yard touchdown run from quarterback Ian Book.

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Notre Dame got the ball back on an onside kick but could not find the end zone again, making the final score 31–14.

For the Irish, the loss continued a streak of losses in high-profile bowl matchups, though the score on Friday was not as lopsided as previous defeats.

Alabama came into the game with an 8–3 record against the spread, though the Tide have now failed to do so in their last two games. Alabama was favored by 16.5 points in the SEC championship game against Florida, but only won by six. Prior to that game, the Tide had covered in seven consecutive games, including six times as a favorite of 21 points or more.