DeVonta Smith, Mac Jones, Alabama Rout Ohio State to Win 2021 CFP Championship

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2021

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith scores a touchdown past Ohio State safety Josh Proctor during the first half of an NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

For the sixth time in the last 12 seasons, the Alabama Crimson Tide are the national champions of college football.

Alabama earned a 52-24 win over the Ohio State Buckeyes on Monday night in the College Football Playoff National Championship, completing a perfect 13-0 season with one of the best offenses in history.

It was the DeVonta Smith show early at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Heisman Trophy winner set a title game record with 12 catches and scored three touchdowns in the win:

A hand injury forced him off the field in the third quarter, but he did enough to give Alabama a 35-17 lead at halftime.

The offensive onslaught continued in the second half as Mac Jones finished with five touchdown passes despite injuring his leg, matching a career high and marking his eighth game with at least four scores this season.

Alabama built a 28-point lead early in the fourth quarter on Najee Harris' third touchdown and never looked back.

Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban secured his seventh national championship, passing Bear Bryant for the most in history. This was his second undefeated team after the 2009 Tide finished 14-0.

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Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields was held to one touchdown and Ohio State couldn't keep up after running back Trey Sermon was injured on the first play of the game. The Buckeyes were seeking their first championship since the 2014 season and finished 7-1.

   

Notable Performances

Mac Jones, QB, ALA: 36-of-45, 464 passing yards, 5 TDs

Najee Harris, RB, ALA: 22 carries, 79 rushing yards, 7 catches, 79 receiving yards, 3 TDs

DeVonta Smith, WR, ALA: 12 catches, 215 receiving yards, 3 TDs

Justin Fields, QB, OSU: 17-of-33, 194 passing yards, 1 TD, 6 carries, 67 rushing yards

Master Teague III, RB, OSU: 15 carries, 65 rushing yards, 2 TDs

Chris Olave, WR, OSU: 8 catches, 69 receiving yards

   

DeVonta Smith and Alabama Stars Shine in Unstoppable Offense

If there were any doubts about Smith as the best player in college football this season, those questions were answered early.

The receiver took over, gaining more yards than Ohio State in the first half (215-190).

His play gained plenty of attention from those watching:

Smith suffered a finger injury in the third quarter and didn't return, but he had made his mark.

Alabama also had plenty of production without him, as Harris offered impressive plays on the ground and through the air:

Harris also passed Derrick Henry with a school-record 30 touchdowns from scrimmage in a season.

The skill players outshined Jones, but the quarterback did his job as well with five touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Even when Smith went out, the offense barely missed a beat thanks to Jones' strong play:

The Crimson Tide entered the day averaging 48.2 points per game and didn't slow down even against a tough defense. The talent and production of this unit could match almost any in college football history.

   

Short-Handed Ohio State Unable to Overcome Losses

Ohio State had 13 players unavailable for the game, including nose tackle Tommy Togiai, defensive end Tyreke Smith and kicker Blake Haubeil.

The situation got even worse when Sermon was injured on his first carry and brought to the hospital, per ESPN's Maria Taylor. It was a significant loss considering his impact:

Sermon was the Buckeyes' leading rusher this season and had been red hot with 524 rushing yards over his last two games, against Northwestern and Clemson.

And Fields played with a rib injury, so it was an uphill battle for Ohio State.

The Buckeyes still showed plenty of fight, including a pair of touchdowns by backup running back Master Teague III:

Former Buckeye Ezekiel Elliott was rooting for Teague to break his own record:

Fields was quiet early but showcased his skill set to help cut the gap to 14 in the third quarter:

In the first half, Baron Browning produced a rare defensive highlight for the Buckeyes with a strip-sack:

The Buckeyes defense simply couldn't keep up, allowing 621 yards while forcing just two punts.

We don't know if the game would have been different with Ohio State at full strength, but the team on the field fell far short in the title game.