MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- It might have been the hardest hit Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron absorbed all night.

With the play clock down to zero and just a few minutes before the confetti started raining down, McCarron expressed displeasure with All-America center Barrett Jones after an essentially meaningless delay of game penalty. Jones gave him a good shove, and then the Crimson Tide went back to dispatching Notre Dame 42-14 Monday night to claim the program's second straight national title and third in four years.

Both parties and coach Nick Saban dismissed the incident as no big deal.

"Well, that's just AJ," Saban said. "That's the kind relationship I have with him.'

Feisty, competitive and hardly lacking in confidence, McCarron was once again on target and well-protected in a BCS championship game.

The nation's leader in passing efficiency completed 20 of 28 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns in a game that might have even been better than his MVP performance against LSU a year ago. He moved past John Parker Wilson to set the school record with 49 career passing touchdowns with a year to go since McCarron has already announced he'll return for his senior season instead of turning pro.

McCarron has had plenty of spats with Jones, the leader of an offensive line that kept his jersey virtually spotless in the finale: No sacks, not even an official quarterback hurry on the stat sheet. That stuff happens with motivated competitors in such close quarters.

Just not usually on national television.

"I shouldn't have pushed him," said Jones, who won the William V. Campbell Trophy as college football's top scholar-athlete. "It's just not a big deal. The play clock was running down. We were delayed. We just wanted to run some clock and we ended up not having much time at the line and they shifted and I ended up having to make some calls, and then the clock ran out. AJ blamed it on the nearest person, which was me."

McCarron had a different take on what happened, but also dismissed the significance. He blamed it on miscommunication – sort of.

"He wanted to do something else, and I was right and he didn't like it," McCarron said, grinning. "That's us, we're both perfectionist. I think you're all are making it a little bit bigger than what it is."

Alabama had plenty of big offensive performances in the game. Tailback Eddie Lacy earned outstanding offensive player honors with 140 yards and two touchdowns – one rushing, one receiving – and freshman T.J. Yeldon ran for 108 yards and plowed through the line for a 1-yard score behind noseguard/goal line fullback Jesse Williams.

Freshman receiver Amari Cooper broke Julio Jones Alabama single-season receiving records, finishing with six catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns to reach 1,000 for the season.

"It was a great game," Jones said. "I loved our balance. I just think this was probably the best overall offensive performance we've had all year."

McCarron as always was pulling the trigger, and maybe he also lit the fuse in that one heated moment.

Not surprisingly, Saban speaks fondly of that kind of passion and intensity.

"AJ is a leader, he's a competitor, he's a fiery guy," the coach said. "I think he has a tremendous amount of respect for the competitors who play around him.

"But I also think that he lets his personality come out, and I think people respect that."

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  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    Davonte' Neal #19 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish fights for a loose ball after muffing the punt against Landon Collins #26 of the Alabama Crimson Tide in the second quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    Landon Collins #26 of the Alabama Crimson Tide and Jeoffrey Pagan #8 celebrate after pinning the Notre Dame Fighting Irish deep in their own territory during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish sits undering center against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    Davonte' Neal #19 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish fights for a loose ball after muffing the punt against Landon Collins #26 of the Alabama Crimson Tide in the second quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    Davonte' Neal #19 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish fights for a loose ball after muffing the punt against Landon Collins #26 of the Alabama Crimson Tide in the second quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish watches from the sidelines against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    Amari Cooper #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs with the ball against Theo Riddick #6 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    T.J. Yeldon #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates a second quarter touchdown against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish throws a pass against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    Head coach Brian Kelly (C) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish argues a call with the line judge against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    T.J. Yeldon #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide scores a second quarter touchdown against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    T.J. Yeldon #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates with teammate Kelly Johnson #31 of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    T.J. Yeldon #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide scores a second quarter touchdown against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks on after failing to convert on third down against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    The Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after a defensive stop against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    Eddie Lacy #42 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs with the ball against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after throwing a touchdown in the first quarter to Michael Williams #89 against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    Michael Williams #89 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates with teammate Kelly Johnson #31 after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after throwing a touchdown in the first quarter to Michael Williams #89 against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    Michael Williams #89 against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates his first quarter touchdown against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after throwing a touchdown in the first quarter to Michael Williams #89 against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after throwing a touchdown in the first quarter to Michael Williams #89 against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    TJ Jones #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish gets tackled by Ty Reed #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish throws a pass against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

  • Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

    AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide passes makes an adjustment prior to a play against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, DaVaris Daniels

    Alabama's Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix (6) intercepts a pass over Notre Dame's DaVaris Daniels (10) during the second half of the BCS National Championship college football game Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Amari Cooper, AJ McCarron

    Alabama's Amari Cooper (9) celebrates his touchdown catch with quarterback AJ McCarron (10) during the second half of the BCS National Championship college football game against Notre Dame Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • Dee Milliner, DaVaris Daniels

    Alabama's Dee Milliner (28) breaks up a pass intended for Notre Dame's DaVaris Daniels (10) during the second half of the BCS National Championship college football game Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • AJ McCarron, Amari Cooper

    Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (10) congratulates Amari Cooper after Cooper's touchdown reception during the second half of the BCS National Championship college football game against Notre Dame Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

  • Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, Adrian Hubbard

    Alabama's Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix (6) is congratulated by teammate Adrian Hubbard after intercepting a pass during the second half of the BCS National Championship college football game Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

  • Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, Tyler Eifert

    Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert (80) catches a pass in front of Alabama's Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix (6) during the second half of the BCS National Championship college football game Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • AJ McCarron

    Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron celebrates during the second half of the BCS National Championship college football game against Notre Dame Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Everett Golson

    Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson (5) runs past Alabama's Xzavier Dickson (47) and Trey DePriest (33) for a touchdown during the second half of the BCS National Championship college football game Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • AJ McCarron, Barrett Jones

    Alabama's AJ McCarron (10) and Barrett Jones argue during the second half of the BCS National Championship college football game against Notre Dame Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • D.J. Pettway, Jeoffrey Pagan

    Alabama's D.J. Pettway (57) celebrates with teammate Jeoffrey Pagan (8) after sacking Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson during the second half of the BCS National Championship college football game Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Nick Saban, AJ McCarron, Barrett Jones, Cyrus Kouandjio

    Alabama head coach Nick Saban is hugged by AJ McCarron, Barrett Jones and Cyrus Kouandjio after the BCS National Championship college football game against Notre Dame Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. Alabama won 42-14. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • Nick Saban, AJ McCarron, Barrett Jones

    Alabama head coach Nick Saban is hugged by AJ McCarron and Barrett Jones after the BCS National Championship college football game against Notre Dame Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. Alabama won 42-14. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • Nick Saban, Barrett Jones

    Alabama head coach Nick Saban celebrates with Barrett Jones after the BCS National Championship college football game against Notre Dame Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. Alabama won 42-14. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Alphonse Taylor

    Alabama defensive lineman Alphonse Taylor (50) holds up a newspaper after the BCS National Championship college football game Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. Alabama won 42-14. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Nick Saban,Brian Kelly

    Alabama head coach Nick Saban shakes hands with Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly after the BCS National Championship college football game Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. Alabama won 42-14. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Nick Saban,Brian Kelly

    Alabama head coach Nick Saban shakes hands with Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly after the BCS National Championship college football game Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. Alabama won 42-14. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Alabama 's Eddie Lacy (42) and Kevin Norwood (83) celebrate after the BCS National Championship college football game against Notre Dame Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. Alabama won 42-14. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Alabama 's Eddie Lacy (42), Kenny Bell (7) and Kevin Norwood (83) celebrate after the BCS National Championship college football game against Notre Dame Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. Alabama won 42-14. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Nick Saban

    Alabama head coach Nick Saban is dunked with Gatorade in the final seconds of the BCS National Championship college football game against Notre Dame Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. Alabama won 42-14. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Nick Saban

    Alabama head coach Nick Saban is dunked with Gatorade in the final seconds of the BCS National Championship college football game against Notre Dame Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. Alabama won 42-14. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Alabama head coach Nick Saban holds up the championship trophy after the BCS National Championship college football game against Notre Dame Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. Alabama won 42-14. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • AJ McCarron, Barrett Jones

    Alabama's AJ McCarron celebrates with Barrett Jones (75) in the final seconds of the BCS National Championship college football game against Notre Dame Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. Alabama won 42-14. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Eddie Lacy

    Alabama's Eddie Lacy holds up the championship trophy after the BCS National Championship college football game against Notre Dame Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. Alabama won 42-14. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • Nick Saban

    Alabama head coach Nick Saban waves to fans after the BCS National Championship college football game against Notre Dame Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. Alabama won 42-14. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)