AJ McCarron led Alabama to a second consecutive national championship while dealing with a significant rib injury.

In an interview with ESPN.com[1], the junior quarterback said he was hurt against Mississippi State on Oct. 27 and had to play the final six games of the season through “nagging pain” due to three ribs that “kept popping in and out of place.”

McCarron’s play dipped immediately after he was hurt. He struggled the following week against LSU before leading the Tide to a comeback win in the final minute. He then threw his first two interceptions of the season in a loss to Texas A&M the next Saturday.

Part of the cause was the inability to practice and maintain cohesiveness with Alabama’s receivers.

“When it first happened, I still tried to throw some so our timing wouldn’t fall off that much in our passing game,” McCarron said. “That’s one of the things that kind of put a damper on our passing game a little. I was injured, and we had so many receivers injured, so it was hard to do a whole lot in practice. That kind of threw us off a little, but we still kept it going.”

McCarron said the five weeks between the SEC championship game and the BCS title game allowed him to heal. And he played much better against Notre Dame, throwing for four touchdowns in a blowout victory.

“I couldn’t throw much during the week for a long time, really almost up to the bowl game,” McCarron said. “I was hurting really bad through the week, and it just took a long time for those ribs to heal.”

PHOTOS: BCS NATIONAL TITLE GAME

  • Alabama celebrates its third BCS national championship in four years after routing Notre Dame 42-14 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.
  • Alabama celebrates.
  • Alabama coach Nick Saban celebrates his fourth career BCS national championship (three with Alabama, one with LSU).
  • Alabama coach Nick Saban gets the trational Gatorade shower in the closing moments of the Crimson Tide's victory.
  • Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron and coach Nick Saban celebrate.
  • Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron celebrates with a kiss for the championship trophy.
  • Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron celebrates with his family after winning the BCS national championship.
  • Alabama offensive lineman Alex Shine celebrates.
  • Alabama running back Eddie Lacy celebrates.
  • Alabama cheerleaders celebrate.
  • Alabama offensive linesman D.J. Fluker celebrates as the final seconds tick off the clock.
  • Alabama fans celebrate.
  • Alabama coach Nick Saban gets the trational Gatorade shower in the closing moments.
  • From left, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, linebacker Manti Te'o and safety Zeke Motta face the media after their loss.
  • A lone Notre Dame fan remains in his section of the stands after Alabama's win.
  • Alabama receiver Amari Cooper, right, celebrates his fourth-quarter touchdown with lineman Cyrus Kouandjio.
  • Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron celebrates a fourth-quarter touchdown pass.
  • Alabama receiver Amari Cooper hauls in his second touchdown catch of the game in the fourth quarter.
  • Alabama receiver Amari Cooper sprints past the Notre Dame defense and into the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown during the third quarter. Cooper's score put the Crimson Tide ahead 35-0.
  • Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson dives into the end zone for a thrid-quarter touchdown. Golson's score finally got the Fighting Irish on the board at 35-7.
  • Alabama defender Ha'Sean Clniton-Dix (6) makes a leaping interception over Notre Dame receiver DaVaris Daniels (10) during the third quarter.
  • Alabama defender Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix (6) snags a third-quarter interception on a pass intended for Notre Dame receiver DaVaris Daniels.
  • Alabama running back Eddie Lacy celebrates his second-quarter touchdown catch.
  • Alabama running back Eddie Lacy (42) spins into the end zone to complete an 11-yard touchdown catch late int he first half. Lacy's score gave the Crimson Tide a 28-0 lead at the break.
  • Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson (5) escapes from Alabama defender Vinnie Sunseri to avoid a sack during the first half.
  • Notre Dame receiver DaVaris Daniels (10) hauls in a first-half pass behind Alabama defender Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix (6) during the first half.
  • Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron (10) passes over leaping Notre Dame defensive lineman Kapron Lewis-Moore (89).
  • Notre Dame returner Davonte' Neal fumbles a punt late in the first half.
  • Notre Dame returner Davonte' Neal, left, and Alabama defender Landon Collins chase Neal's fumbled punt.
  • Notre Dame linebacker Prince Shembo (55) brings down Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon during the first half.
  • Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon (4) falls into the end zone to complete a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that put the Crimson Tide ahead 21-0.
  • Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson (5) throws on the run during the first half.
  • Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon (4) breaks away from a Notre Dame defender on a first-half run.
  • Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly pleads his case with an official during the first half.
  • Alabama running back Eddie Lacy (42) gets bottled up after a first-half run.
  • Alabama running back Eddie Lacy (42) eludes a Note Dame defender on a second-quarter run.
  • Notre Dame safety Zeke Motta, right, breaks up a pass intended for Alabama receiver Marvin Shinn during the first half.
  • Alabama tight end Michael Williams hauls in a 3-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter that put the Crimson Tide up 14-0.
  • Notre Dame quartback Everett Golson looks to pass during the first quarter.
  • Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert (80) hauls in a first-quarter pass along the sideline.
  • Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron directs the offense during the first quarter.
  • Alabama running back Eddie Lacy celebrates his first-quarter touchdown that gave the Crimson Tide an early 7-0 lead.
  • Alabama running back Eddie Lacy (42) shakes off a Notre Dame defender on his way to a 20-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
  • Alabama receiver Kevin Norwood (83) hauls in a first-quarter pass.
  • Wide receiver Robby Toma (9) leads Noter Dame onto the field.
  • Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson on hand for the national title game. Richardson won two national championships at Alabama.
  • Brian and Ottilia Te'o, parents of Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te'o take in the game from the sidelines.
  • Fireworks explode over Sun Life Stadium during the national anthem.
  • Alabama mascot Al takes the field prior to the game.
  • No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama face off in the Discover BCS National Championship Game.
  • Sun Life Stadium in Miami prepares to host the BCS title game between Notre Dame and Alabama.
  • Notre Dame fans, from left, Chris Sweddon, David Miller, Josh Miller and Scott Miller enjoy the pregame tailgating festivities.
  • Alabama fans, from left, Brian Dawes, Donna Long, Robin Albano and Debbie Albano enjoy the pregame tailgating scene.
  • Bryce Burton, the Notre Dame leprechaun mascot, is quite the celebrity in Miami.
  • Actor and Notre Dame fan Vince Vaughn poses with the Alabama cheerleaders prior to the game.
  • Notre Dame fan Joe Evans of Mobile, Ala., center, and several new friends enjoy the pregame tailgating scene.
  • Alabama twirlers and dancers warm up prior to the game.
  • Colin Patience, left, and Chris Davis of the Notre Dame bagpipe band entertain tailgaters prior to the game.
  • One Alabama fan's interesting take on the team's "Roll Tide" slogan.
  • The Notre Dame Irish Guard leads the marching band into Sun Life Stadium for the BCS title game.