Alabama defeats Ohio State in CFP National Championship
No.1-ranked Alabama has won its 18th National Championship. The Crimson Tide (13-0) cruised to a 52-24 victory over No. 3 Ohio State (7-1) in Miami on Monday night behind stellar performances from QB Mac Jones and WR DeVonta Smith. The championship is the school's third of the College Football Playoff era and sixth under head coach Nick Saban.
Alabama dominated this game from the start--forcing a three and out and knocking out Buckeyes' RB Trey Sermon on the opening possession of the game. Defensive tackle Christian Barmore made life a nightmare for QB Justin Fields as the Ohio State offense became mostly one dimensional as they fell further behind.
The game was tied 7-7 entering the second quarter, but that is when Alabama took off. Jones hit Smith for some long gains as the first quarter expired, then connected with him again on the first play of the second for a touchdown. Ohio State would take advantage of a fumble recovery to tie the game with Master Teague's second touchdown run, but there would be little offense for the Buckeyes the rest of the way. The Buckeyes punted on the rest of their possessions in the first half, while Jones, Smith, and Najee Harris led Alabama to a 35-17 lead at halftime.
The Tide added a field goal to start the second half, but lost Smith to a hand injury on the drive. It wouldn't matter much, as the lead proved to be insurmountable.
Justin Fields found Garrett Wilson for a 20-yard touchdown part way through the the third, yet could not manage much else. The Buckeyes also had a 17 play drive end in a turnover on downs.
Meanwhile, Jones added another touchdown pass to Slade Bolden and Najee Harris added a rushing touchdown. Jones finished the game with 464 passing yards and five touchdown passes on 36 of 45 passing. Harris had 158 total yards and three touchdowns (2 rushing, 1 receiving).
Fields did not follow up his terrific performance against Clemson with another great showing. Still, he was most of the Buckeyes' offense with 194 passing yards and a touchdown pass. He also had 67 rushing yards despite being under heavy pressure all game.
Alabama's DeVonta Smith was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the game after posting 215 receiving yards with three touchdowns on 12 catches--all in the first half.