On Monday, Jan. 12, The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated The Ohio State Buckeyes in a 52-24 blowout to claim their 16th National Championship. Coming into the game, No. 1 Alabama was favored by nine points against No. 3 Ohio St. Many were surprised that Ohio St. managed to upset the No. 2 Clemson Tigers, led by quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Alabama had finished the season undefeated at 13-0, but so did Clemson at 7-0. The South Eastern Conference, Alabama’s subdivision, started their games earlier, giving Alabama the advantage of playing more actual games, not just practices.
The game was played at Hard Rock Stadium, home to the Miami Dolphins of the NFL. Only 15,000 of the 65,000 seats were available for fans. On January 11, Alabama announced that 13 players were ineligible, confirmed to be COVID related by a teammate on social media.
Another major setback for Ohio St. was injuries. Two weeks prior during the Sugar Bowl against Clemson, quarterback Justin Fields took a brutal helmet leading hit to the ribs. He took an injection in the medical tent and returned to the game, putting up a career high of six touchdowns. After the game, Fields said that he felt pain on every play, but should be able to recover for the National Championship. He did manage to play through the injury, but clearly wasn’t his normal self. In the first few plays of the championship, running back Trey Sermon took a hit to the collar bone and was later taken to the hospital. His mother addressed the injury, mentioning it wasn’t too serious. With an injured quarterback and the absence of their starting running back, the game started to slip away from Ohio State.
Alabama had their share of injuries as well, but the team’s lineup with the absence of some starters was still equivalent or better than any other starting lineup in college football. Heisman Trophy winner, wide receiver DeVonta Smith, left in the third quarter with an injury, but returned in the fourth quarter with a wrapped wrist and taped fingers. Another starting receiver, Jaylen Waddle, suffered an injury. He had missed every game until the championship, but suffered a fractured foot early in the game. Waddle returned later in the game, to which many NFL players including Patrick Mahomes II begged Alabama to take Waddle out of the game.
Ohio St. did not necessarily play bad, but they just couldn’t compete against Alabama. Smith racked up 12 catches for 215 yard with three touchdowns, all coming in the first half. Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris had 158 yards with three touchdowns, breaking the single season touchdown record for the SEC. Quarterback Mac Jones tied the National Championship record for touchdowns in a half, being five, with four coming in the first half. He went 36 for 45 with 464 yards, another record for passing yards in a National Championship.
The 2020-2021 Alabama Crimson Tide will go down with having one of the best college football seasons of all time, topped off with a win in the National Championship.