College Football Playoff

DeVonta's Day: Smith Leads Alabama to National Title Inside Hard Rock Stadium

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith caught three touchdown passes in the first half alone as the Crimson Tide won their first national championship since 2017

Getty Images

If there was any question who the most important player was for Monday's College Football Playoff title game, it was answered long before the virtual bands took to the scoreboards inside Hard Rock Stadium.

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith caught three touchdown passes in the first half alone - part of four total touchdown passes in the first half from quarterback Mac Jones - as the Crimson Tide blew past Ohio State 52-24 for their first national championship since 2017.

After forcing Ohio State to punt on the opening drive, Alabama (13-0) drove down the field quickly and capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run from running back Najee Harris. The Buckeyes responded with running back Master Teague III scoring from eight yards out to tie the game at seven.

Jones and Smith would strike for a touchdown from five yards out on the first play of the second quarter, giving the Crimson Tide a 14-7 lead before the Buckeyes recovered a fumble and Teague got his second rushing touchdown of the first half after a four yard run.

Alabama quickly retook the lead when Jones and Harris hooked up for a 22-yard touchdown pass before Fields and Teague used their legs to get Ohio State (7-1) back in scoring range. A targeting penalty on Alabama safety and Fort Lauderdale native Jordan Battle moved the ball inside the ten, but the Buckeyes could only get a field goal to cut the deficit to 21-17.

The Crimson Tide responded back to back touchdown passes from Jones to Smith of five yards and 42 yards for the 35-17 halftime lead.

Smith, who was named the offensive player of the game, caught 12 passes for 215 yards in the first half alone - giving Miami Dolphins fans dreams of him being available with the third overall pick in April's NFL Draft - before leaving in the third quarter with a hand injury.

Ohio State added a touchdown to cut the deficit, but Jones' fifth touchdown pass of the game and a one yard touchdown run from Harris sealed Alabama's third national championship in the last six seasons.

Jones finished the game throwing for 464 yards and those five touchdowns while Fields threw for just 194 yards and one touchdown pass after coming into the game with injury questions following a hit suffered in the Sugar Bowl win over Clemson.

"This is the definition of a complete team," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said during the trophy presentation after the game.

Saban, still seen as evil in the eyes of some Dolphins fans following his two seasons as the team's coach in 2005 and 2006, has now won two of his six national titles at Alabama inside what is now Hard Rock Stadium.

Just under 15,000 fans, or nearly 25 percent of the capacity, were allowed inside for Monday's game. Each team's marching band did not make the trip to South Florida, but a virtual band comprised of students from across America took part.

Ohio State became the 7th different team to take part in the five title games played in South Florida during the Bowl Championship Series and College Football Playoff eras. Alabama was making their second trip, having previously won the title to conclude the 2012 season by defeating Notre Dame.

Contact Us