Miami Gardens, FL—No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide beat No.3 Ohio State Buckeyes 52-24, in the 2021 College Football Playoff Championship Game Monday night at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
The win gives the Tide (13-0) its sixth national title under coach Nick Saban and its third of their playoff era. Alabama won championships in 2015, 2017, and 2020 seasons, the most of any school since the playoff’s formation. The Clemson Tigers won titles in 2016 and 2018 seasons, the only other university with multiple playoff championships.
Alabama quarterback Mac Jones led the Tide offense with 464 passing yards and five touchdowns on 36-of-45 completions. Heisman Trophy recipient and wide receiver DeVonta Smith had 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns in the first half before suffering a hand injury to start the third quarter ending his night.
Ohio State concludes the 2020 season at 7-1, winning their fourth Big Ten title in a row and making their fifth appearance in a bowl game.
Alabama’s output was the biggest game of the year with 621 yards of total offense. Their 52 points were the most ever scored by the Tide in a national title game and the most in a Bama bowl game since 1953.
“I heard somebody say he set some kind of record in the first half of the game, heavens knows what he would have done if he played the whole game,” coach Saban said after the game. “But you’re talking about the ultimate warrior, ultimate competitor. I’m so happy for him that he was recognized as the best player in college football because I don’t think anybody’s done more for their team than he has for our team.”
On the OSU side, Master Teague hit the end zone twice on 15 carries for 65 yards, while Chris Olave caught eight receptions for 69 yards. Trey Sermon left the game on the opening possession after suffering a shoulder injury and did not return to the game.
Bama back Najee Harris was an all-purpose work horse with 178 yards from scrimmage (79 rushings, 79 receiving) and three total touchdowns, just kept running through the tackles.
The Buckeyes had no answer for Alabama’s high power offense in the first half.
“This is a team that was always together. Everybody bought into the principles and values of the organization and program,” Saban said. “And they just did a great job. They played together. They supported each other. This is a great team.”
The Crimson Tide were up 35-17 at the half after scoring four touchdowns in the second quarter. Smith scored to open the quarter on a swing route out of the backfield and scored twice in the final 3:20 to extend Alabama’s lead to three touchdowns.
Smith left the game in the third quarter after he appeared to injure a finger on his right hand just after the break.
Alabama was forced to play much of the second half without Smith but didn’t miss a beat without him in the offense.
The Buckeyes (7-1) briefly got back into the match-up with 6:45 to go in the third quarter after a quick drive that got OSU within 11 points. But the Tide answered with an eight-play, 75-yard TD drive that took almost four minutes and ended with a nice pass from QB Mac Jones to wide receiver Slade Bolden for a five-yard score.
“I wanted to win this game for these players,” Saban said. “Because this game was all about what they’ve done all year long. And I’m just so happy for our team and our players.”
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields played hurt but he completed 17 of 33 passes for 194 yards and a score, just couldn’t shake the Bama defense for four quarters.