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College Football Recap: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Ohio State Buckeyes 52:24 - Alabama overtakes Ohio State - Heisman winner gala performance
The Alabama Crimson Tide prevailed in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game with an outstanding performance against Ohio State. Heisman winner DeVonta Smith excelled with three touchdowns while coach Nick Saban made history.
Alabama started the game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, and took the lead from the 1-yard line with a touchdown from running back Najee Harris on the first drive. Ohio State promptly hit back despite an early injury to top runner Trey Sermon. Backup running back Master Teague equalized with an 8-yard touchdown run.
Then the DeVonta Smith Show began for Bama. After Play Action, quarterback Mac Jones found him with a screen for a 5-yard touchdown. OSU was then stopped for the first time, but got the ball back a little later through a strip sack against Jones. Teague equalized again.
After that, however, Alabama gradually moved away. Harris caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Jones and after a field goal from Jake Seibert from 23 yards, Smith scored two more touchdowns before the break. First Jones found him for a 5-yard checkdown, then with a 42-yard bomb in a running duel with an overwhelmed linebacker. At 35:17 it finally went into the break.
The second half began with a stop for Ohio State, who kept Bama on a field goal. Shortly afterwards, the Buckeyes made another good drive after a long time, spurred on by a 33-yard scramble run by QB Justin Fields. In the following play, Fields found wide receiver Garrett Wilson for a 20-yard touchdown.
Alabama marches on despite Smith injury
However, Bama was only partially impressed and hit back straight away. Jones ultimately threw a 5-yard TD pass at Slade Bolden and restored the old 21-point lead. On that drive, however, Smith injured his hand and had to leave the game prematurely.
The following drive ended with an unsuccessful 4th down for Ohio State - defensive end Christian Barmore broke through the line into the backfield and stopped Teague for a turnover on downs at the end of the third quarter. The consequence of this was another Harris touchdown at the start of the fourth. It should be the end of this game.
With this victory, Alabama won its 13th National Championship in the Poll era (since 1936) - the most ever. For head coach Nick Saban it is the seventh title, the third since the introduction of the College Football Playoff. Most of them are both in college football. Saban overtook Bama legend Bear Bryant, who won six titles at the time.
College Football Playoff: National Championship Game 2021
Alabama Crimson Tide (13-0, # 1) - Ohio State Buckeyes (7-1, # 3)
Result: 52:24 (7: 7, 28:10, 10: 7, 7: 0) BOXSCORE
Alabama vs. Ohio State - the most important statistics
Harris' touchdown catch in the second quarter was his 29th scrimmage touchdown of the season. That's a new SEC record. He overtook Derrick Henry, who scored 28 touchdowns in his 2015 Heisman season for Alabama.
This was Alabama’s 41st win in a row in games where the Crimson Tide scored a touchdown on the first drive of the game. The last defeat despite the opening drive touchdown happened in the Sugar Bowl 2014 against Oklahoma.
- Smith already collected 11 receptions for 173 yards before the break. That was a new record for the first half of a National Championship Game. In addition, he now has 23 touchdown receptions, which is a new FBS season record. He had already set the record from the preseason (20) by LSU's Ja'Marr Chase before the game.
- Smith had a total of 12 receptions and 3 touchdowns. Both are records for a national championship game, be it in the BCS era or in the college football playoff.
The star of the game: DeVonta Smith (Wide Receiver Alabama)
The Heisman winner could not be held in the slightly more than two quarters that he only played due to injury. He dismantled the opposing defense (12 REC, 215 YDS, 3 TD) and clearly made the difference for Bama. Of course, Najee Harris (3 TD) and Mac Jones were also worth mentioning. But the latter in particular had easy reads due to the great play designs and rarely pressure.
The flop of the game: The Buckeyes' pass defense
OSU never got access to Smith and Co. It was particularly serious that the secondary, and that includes the linebackers, who were involved in coverage a lot due to the lack of alternatives behind it, was again and again completely overwhelmed by pre-snap motion and Misdirections. It was all too easy for the opponent.
Analysis: Alabama vs. Ohio State - the tactics board
What looked spectacular was actually quite simple: Bama mainly relied on pre-snap motion and misdirections. Everything to find the right mismatch again and again against the man coverage of Ohio State. Smith and Harris in Space, in particular, were isolated over and over again.
However, the Buckeyes also played into the opponent's cards: They mostly played in their base defense and invited Bama formally to face Smith against one of the mostly three linebackers and then simply run away from him. Seen in his third touchdown just before the break.
Alabama usually played defensively in Man Coverage, which at least theoretically invited the mobile QB Fields to run. However, due to his hip problems, he only used it very rarely. But when he did start running, it was difficult to stop without gaining a lot of space.
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