MLive’s predictions for Ohio State vs. Alabama in national championship

MLive’s predictions for Ohio State vs. Alabama in national championship”

And wide receiver DeVonta Smith, this year's Heisman Trophy victor, accounted for 12 receptions for 215 yards and three scores before leaving the game in the third quarter with an injury to his right hand, setting a slew of single-game and career SEC, program and playoff records.

After converting on an Alabama turnover deep in its own territory to tie the score at 14 with 11:43 left in the second quarter, Ohio State was blitzed by an Alabama run that will go down in postseason history, a 21-3 surge to end the half ahead 35-17.

Both teams also are loaded with future National Football League talent. Alabama's game plan created mismatches in the passing game, most notably on a 42-yard touchdown pass to Smith in the second quarter that saw the senior pitted against linebacker Tuf Borland. That trio, along with receiver Jaylen Waddle, who has been out since September 26 with an injury but could return Monday, defensive tackle Christian Barmore and cornerback Patrick Surtain II are all projected first-round picks in the latest mock draft from ESPN's Todd McShay.

Smith snagged 105 passes for 1,641 yards and a whopping 20 touchdowns, leading the country in all three categories.

In the national title game, Alabama handed Ohio State its only loss of the season.

Crimson Tide center Landon Dickerson was lost, seemingly for the season, when he tore his ACL.

The Tide's defense had its ups and downs, but the offense was prolific. If star Jaylen Waddle returns, that's another weapon the Buckeyes will have to account for.

Alabama wore its home uniform as the higher-ranked team in the playoff, whereas the road version of Ohio State's 1968 throwback uniform made its debut. But I'm siding with the Crimson Tide.

Andrew Kahn: A weird season filled with uncertainty comes down to two of the best programs over the past decade.

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"Tough night, tough night", said Ohio State coach Ryan Day. Alabama's defense is far from elite. Nick Saban knows it, but he also knows his offense is almost impossible to stop.

There might be an excuse for falling flat: Ohio State was down two starters on the defensive line, negating a team strength when facing the nation's best offensive front.

However, the Crimson Tide scored the game's final 10 points, including a go-ahead three-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mike Shula to wide receiver Al Bell and a Van Tiffin field goal with just over one minute remaining.

Ohio State faces Alabama in the National Championship game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida, on Monday, January 11, 2021 (1/11/21).

Alabama hardly missed him and cracked 50 early in the fourth quarter when Harris went in untouched from a yard out.

"Smitty, obviously, had a great half", Alabama coach Nick Saban said.

Kyle Austin: Ohio State looked darn good against Clemson, but it's looked shaky in a few other big games and Justin Fields has shown he can be rattled a bit at times.

It's either the over or no play for me tonight on this total.

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