Alabama beats Ohio State to win national championship

Alabama beats Ohio State to win national championship

Mac Jones threw for 464 yards and five touchdowns, including three to Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith in the first half, as top-ranked Alabama handled No. 3 Ohio State 52-24 in Monday night's College Football Playoff National Championship at Hard Rock Stadium.

The win gave Alabama its sixth national championship under head coach Nick Saban, who tied the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant for the most championships in school history. But Saban is now in a class of his own, having led LSU to the 2003 national championship.

His seven overall titles are enough to cement his legacy as arguably the greatest college coach of all-time.

A pandemic-reduced crowd of 14,926 was on hand to witness Saban's most recent championship, courtesy of Alabama's star-studded offense, led by All-Americans Jones, Smith and running back Najee Harris.

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith catches a touchdown pass against Ohio State during the first half of the College Football Playoff National Championship game, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith catches a touchdown pass against Ohio State during the first half of the College Football Playoff National Championship game, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Smith caught 12 passes for 215 yards to go along with his trifecta of scores in the first half, while Jones was nearly flawless, completing 36 of 45 attempts with no interceptions.

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones passes against Ohio State during the second half of the College Football Playoff National Championship game, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Alabama quarterback Mac Jones passes against Ohio State during the second half of the College Football Playoff National Championship game, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

After Ohio State (7-1) went three-and-out on its first series, Alabama (13-0) seemed to march down the field with ease, with Jones distributing the ball between Harris, Smith, and fellow receivers Jaylen Waddle, Slade Bolden and John Metchie III.

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is tackled by Alabama linebacker Christopher Allen during the first quarter of the College Football Playoff National Championship game, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is tackled by Alabama linebacker Christopher Allen during the first quarter of the College Football Playoff National Championship game, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Waddle made his first appearance since Oct. 24, hauling in a 15-yard catch from Jones on third-and-three to give the Crimson Tide a first down. Waddle, who suffered a broken ankle earlier this season, seemed to limp back to the sideline after the play.

Harris then scored a 1-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal.

Alabama running back Najee Harris (22) scores a touchdown against Ohio State during the first quarter of the College Football Playoff National Championship game, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Alabama running back Najee Harris (22) scores a touchdown against Ohio State during the first quarter of the College Football Playoff National Championship game, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

But the Buckeyes answered when quarterback Justin Fields connected with Jeremy Ruckert, whose one-handed grab for 36 yards set up an 8-yard touchdown run by Master Teague to even the score.

Ohio State running back Master Teague III scores a touchdown against Alabama during the first quarter of the College Football Playoff National Championship game, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Ohio State running back Master Teague III scores a touchdown against Alabama during the first quarter of the College Football Playoff National Championship game, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Smith put the Tide back on top with his 5-yard touchdown reception on the first play of the second quarter.

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith scores a touchdown past Ohio State safety Josh Proctor on the first play of the second quarter of the College Football Playoff National Championship game, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith scores a touchdown past Ohio State safety Josh Proctor on the first play of the second quarter of the College Football Playoff National Championship game, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Alabama appeared poised to score again, but the Buckeyes recovered a fumble by Jones and benefitted from a pass interference call in the end zone. Teague scored his second touchdown of the evening on a 4-yard run on the very next play.

Ohio State linebacker Baron Browning recovers a fumble by Alabama quarterback Mac Jones during the second quarter of the College Football Playoff National Championship game, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Ohio State linebacker Baron Browning recovers a fumble by Alabama quarterback Mac Jones during the second quarter of the College Football Playoff National Championship game, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

The Tide pulled ahead 21-14 with nine minutes remaining in the half on Jones' 26-yard touchdown pass to Harris.

Ohio State had a chance to tie it once again after a targeting call by Alabama safety Jordan Battle gave the Buckeyes a fresh set of downs at the Alabama 8-yard line, but they had to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Jake Seibert to cut the score to 21-17.

That's when Smith took over.

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones celebrates after a touchdown by wide receiver DeVonta Smith during the first half of the College Football Playoff National Championship game against Ohio State, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Alabama quarterback Mac Jones celebrates after a touchdown by wide receiver DeVonta Smith during the first half of the College Football Playoff National Championship game against Ohio State, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

The offensive player of the game scored on each of Alabama's next two possessions to pull ahead 35-17 before the break.

Alabama chipped away at the clock on the opening drive of the second half, padding the score with a 20-yard field goal by Will Reichard to cap a 16-play, 75-yard drive that took 7:13.

Ohio State's lone touchdown of the quarter was a 20-yard touchdown pass from Fields to Garrett Wilson.

Harris scored his second touchdown of the evening in the fourth quarter to finish off the Buckeyes.

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