Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith made 12 receptions for 215 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, sending No. 1 Alabama on its way to a 52-24 rout of No. 3 Ohio State in the College Football Playoff national championship game Monday in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Smith left the game during the first possession of the third quarter with a hand injury before adding to his first-half stats, but it didn’t deter the Crimson Tide (13-0). Mac Jones passed for 464 yards and five TDs, and Najee Harris added two rushing touchdowns and one receiving score.
Alabama scored on five of its first six possessions and amassed 389 total yards in the first half against the undermanned Buckeyes (7-1), building a 35-17 halftime lead. The Crimson Tide wound up with a 621-341 edge in total yards.
Nick Saban Increases GOAT Resume
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban won his seventh national title (six at Alabama, one at LSU). Alabama’s most recent CFP championship came in a 26-23 win over Georgia on Jan. 8, 2018.
Smith’s reception total was a single-game record for a Bowl Championship Series or CFP national title game, dating back to 1998, and his yardage total ranked second in those contests.
Jones’ passing-yardage total was a record for a CFP championship game, dating back to 2015.
Jones’ fifth touchdown toss, a 5-yarder to Slade Bolden with 2:52 left in the third quarter to make it 45-24, capped Alabama’s fourth TD drive of 75 yards. The others went 78, 60 and 43 yards.
Harris rushed for 79 yards and a pair of 1-yard TDs, the latter made it 52-24, and made seven catches for 79 yards. Jones completed 36 of 45 passes.
Buckeyes Can’t Keep Pace
Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields connected on 17 of 33 passes for 194 yards and a touchdown to Garrett Wilson.
Master Teague III, playing for the injured Trey Sermon, had two rushing TDs for Ohio State in the first half. The score was 14-14 before Harris had a 26-yard TD reception to put Alabama on top with nine minutes left in the second quarter. After the Buckeyes pulled within 21-17, Smith had TD catches of 5 and 42 yards, his second and third scores of the half.
Sermon, who had 524 rushing yards in the previous two games combined, carried for 2 yards on the first play from scrimmage, then left with a possible collarbone injury and did not return.
The Buckeyes had 13 players unavailable, including three starters: defensive tackle Tommy Togiai, defensive end Tyreke Smith and kicker Blake Haubeil. The school did give reasons for their absences, although the team has been hit hard by COVID-19 issues.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)