Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith scored three touchdowns as the University of Alabama capped an unbeaten season with a 52-24 victory over Ohio State in the College Football Championship game.
Najee Harris also scored three TDs as Alabama 13-0 clinched their sixth national title under coach Nick Saban, who now has a record seven overall.
“It’s a team that has always been together,” Saban said of how his players have responded to the difficulties of the season disrupted by the pandemic.
“Everyone has adhered to the principles and values of the organization and the program,” said Saban. “And they just did a great job. They played together. They supported each other. It’s a great team. ”
Smith, the first wide receiver since 1991 to win the Heisman as the nation’s top varsity player, didn’t disappoint.
He had 12 catches for 215 yards in the first two quarters, when his 18 points were one more than the Buckeyes’ 17, and he edged Ohio State 215-190 yards.
He was unstoppable until he injured a finger in his right hand at the start of the third quarter, starting first towards the sideline, then towards the locker room to return in the fourth quarter to watch from the sidelines.
“Everything will be fine,” said Smith, probably in the top five in the next NFL Draft.
His 12 catches were a record since the current college football playoff system was put in place seven years ago.
His 215 yards were six fewer to tie the record for most receiving yards in a full game.
He helped give Alabama a 35-17 halftime lead, which was 45-24 after three quarters.
Once Smith left, Harris – who finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy vote – took back what Smith had left behind.
Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, who was third in the Heisman vote, finished with 464 passing yards and five touchdowns.
“Amazing,” Smith said. “We just finished writing our story. ”
Saban, who coached Louisiana State to the title in 2003, clinched his sixth championship with Alabama and his third in the playoff era.
He had entered the competition tied with legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant for most titles from any college coach.
“I’m just happy we won tonight,” he said. “I really didn’t think about it (record) because you always can’t wait.
“And I love this team so much,” added Saban. “What they were able to do I can’t even put into words. ”
© 2021 AFP