January 11, 2021 | 11: 48pm | Updated January 12, 2021 | 1: 48am
Alabama coach Nick Saban arms the championship trophy to Alex Leatherwood.
A uncommon down 12 months in Tuscaloosa solely made it worse for the remainder of school soccer. Alabama lacking the College Football Playoff helped create one in all Nick Saban’s most dominant groups.
Last season, the Crimson Tide misplaced twice and completed eighth within the Associated Press ballot. For most groups, that’s a high quality season. For Saban, it’s unacceptable.
Monday night time — a becoming cap to his group’s efficiency all through this flawless season — was extra alongside the traces of what he expects.
“People last year said the dynasty was over,” record-breaking Alabama extensive receiver DeVonta Smith mentioned. “We don’t stop. We just keep reloading.”
Alabama manhandled Ohio State for Saban’s file seventh nationwide championship, outclassing the Buckeyes, 52-24, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. In the Crimson Tide’s 13 wins, just one victory — the SEC championship recreation win over Florida — got here by single digits. They outscored the opposition 630-252 this season, profitable by a mean of 29.1 factors per recreation.
Alabama (13-0) accomplished the ninth good season in program historical past — and second on Saban’s watch — with a world-class offensive efficiency, producing 621 all-purpose yards and setting a College Football Playoff championship recreation file with 52 factors.
“I think we’re the best team to ever play,” quarterback Mac Jones mentioned. “There’s no team that will ever play an SEC schedule like that again.”
In the primary half alone, the Heisman Trophy-winning Smith set a College Football Playoff championship recreation file for catches (12) and landing receptions (three). In the second half, after a dislocated finger sidelined him, his mates did the remaining.
Jones, the unsung former backup quarterback, accomplished 36 of 45 passes for 464 yards and 5 touchdowns. Running again Najee Harris scored 3 times and accounted for 158 complete yards. The neglected Crimson Tide protection held Ohio State’s quarterback Justin Fields and Co. to 19 factors beneath their season common.
With the victory, the 69-year-old Saban surpassed Bear Bryant for many nationwide championships. In his usually understated model, Saban mentioned Bryant is in a category of his personal, and turned the main target to his gamers.
“To me, this is the ultimate team,” Saban mentioned, citing his gamers’ selfless angle and skill to navigate the pratfalls of enjoying a season throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. “There is more togetherness on this team than on almost any team we’ve ever had.”
Saban’s gamers disagreed with him about his standing within the sport’s historical past. Jones even laughed as he spoke.
“Of course he is [the greatest],” the quarterback mentioned. “How could he not be?”
The expectation of a shoot-out between two prime five-ranked scoring offenses was on track early. The recreation’s first eight drives resulted in 5 touchdowns. Both defenses appeared overmatched.
The momentum turned when Ohio State (7-1) needed to accept a subject aim halfway via the second quarter after a number of off-target throws from Fields within the purple zone.
It was a shaky opening half for Fields, who accomplished simply 6 of 15 passes for 90 yards. He appeared hesitant and jittery, lacking open targets, and solely used his ft occasionally. It didn’t assist that beginning operating again Trey Sermon was misplaced on the sport’s first play because of a collarbone harm. The Crimson Tide started getting extra stress on Fields within the second quarter, resulting in rushed throws.
Just 3: 31 after the Ohio State subject aim, the Alabama lead went from three to 17. Smith caught consecutive scoring strikes, the second a 42-yard catch on a seam sample by which he was one way or the other matched up with slow-footed linebacker Tuf Borland.
“I don’t know if I’ve seen [a receiver] better than that,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day mentioned.
At that time, Smith had already set quite a few data. There was nonetheless 1: 48 left within the first half, nevertheless it didn’t matter. Alabama was nicely on its method to one other nationwide championship. It was a foregone conclusion.
“We had a mission,” Smith mentioned. “Everybody wanted to end things the right way.”