Bama’s 18th National Title

Bama's 18th National Title

Ethan Vaught

To close out a very sporadic 2020-21 season, the National Championship game this year was not a game to miss. In their first appearance back after ending their five-year streak reaching the College Football Playoffs, Alabama University was back like they never left. Squaring off against a high-hopes team coming off of a big win against Clemson, Ryan Day and his Buckeyes over at Ohio State University knew they had a large test coming up. This isn’t the first time these two have met in the playoffs, as they met in the playoffs’ inaugural season that went into effect in the postseason of the 2014-15 season. Ohio State got the upper hand in that matchup, as they topped the Tide in that contest with a final score of 42-35, a battle of two high scoring offenses. Ohio State went on to win the title game that season, but this season had a different outcome for the Buckeyes. 

Prior to the National Championship game, both teams faced what appeared to be substantially worse teams than themselves. Justin Fields and the Buckeyes steamrolled a defense-lacking Clemson Tigers, as the cannon of an arm that Fields has was placed on display, outplaying projected first overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The Buckeyes seemed to present a true offensive threat, as they defeated Clemson handily in a 49-28 outcome. As for ‘Bama, an all-around dominance on the field led to an easy walk through a win against Notre Dame, topping the Fighting Irish 31-14. Just 5 days after the victories on New Year’s Day for the two teams, the powerhouse Wide Receiver for the Crimson Tide, DeVonta Smith, was awarded the Heisman Trophy after being voted the most outstanding player in college football. This trophy was well deserved, and Smith’s talents really showed true in the National Championship game.

Heading into the big game, Alabama came into the game as an 8 point favorite, one of the largest spreads in National Championship history. This spread didn’t even come close to the actual score of the game. To start the game, Ohio State took possession of the ball after an Alabama coin flip win. However, this possession proved to be a costly one, as a recent impact player and starting running back Trey Sermon was injured on his first carry, rushing the ball for 2 yards before heading to the locker room, and later to the hospital to receive an MRI on his left shoulder. Following the injury, Alabama forced a 3-and-out for the Buckeyes, as they were forced to punt. Following the punt, the Tide rolled on down the field as they had all season and tacked up 7 points after a 1-yard rushing score by running back Najee Harris. The Buckeyes wouldn’t lie down and quit, or not yet at least, as they answered with one of their own before the quarter ended. Heading into the second quarter, this game showed to be an interesting battle of offenses, but this didn’t last too long. 

As the two teams battled back and forth throughout the entire second quarter, Alabama slowly seemed to pull away. Quarterback Mac Jones and DeVonte Smith never missed a beat it seemed, as the two tore apart the Buckeye defense. Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade made a statement before the game against Alabama on the topic of matching up against the Heisman winner: “You already know who I want to go against.” Safe to say that it’s a little too late to take that one back. DeVonta Smith finished the first half with 215 yards and 3 touchdowns, more yards than that of the entire Ohio State offense. This blowout was 35-17 at the half and showed no signs of slowing down. It was clear to see that the Buckeyes were highly overmatched, as the final score came out to a whopping 52-24, with Alabama scoring the most points in a National Championship game during the playoff era. Nick Saban and Bama racked up their 18th National Title, as a lackluster Buckeye performance proved to be no match for the roll of the Crimson Tide.