Analysis: Alabama vs Ohio State

The 2021 College Football National Championship brought along a lot of highlights and crazy plays.

Ayaana Pradhan

The 2021 College Football National Championship brought along a lot of highlights and crazy plays.

Tyler Perry and Max Berglind

The Alabama Crimson Tide were in a position to finish off the perfect season in the college football championship matchup with Big Ten Champion Ohio State. Alabama was, by far, the best in the South Eastern Conference. They were ranked No. 1 in the country the entire year, becoming the first team to ever do that. The Crimson Tide had a perfectly balanced offense to go with a stellar defense that allowed less than twenty points per game in the regular season. They refused to shine away from the bright lights. 

The petrifying Alabama defense forced a three-and-out and punted on the first possession. Then the Crimson Tide, using their star power on offense, drove down the field. Mac Jones found Jaylen Waddle to advance near the goal line. Najee Harris capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run. Ohio State answered back with a touchdown of their own from running back Master Teague.

Until the nine-minute mark of the second quarter, it was a solid football game. However, when star Alabama running back Harris caught a pass from Jones, he punched in his second of three touchdowns he would finish within the game. With that, Alabama took a 21-14 lead and never looked back.

The next seven scores of the game, five came from Alabama. Three of those came from the golden arm of Jones. Jones is one of the top quarterback talents for this year’s NFL Draft in April. In the biggest game of his life up until that point, Jones shined. He was near flawless, and besides a fumble early in the second quarter, he could not have played better. The Joker, which is a nickname coined by his teammates, threw 45 passes and completed 36 of them. Five of those passes resulted in touchdowns, and all those passes made for a 450-yard performance. After his showing in the National Championship, Jones looked like the best quarterback in college football

It would be doing a disservice to talk about the University of Alabama without mentioning the Heisman winner, DeVonta Smith. Smith, in the National Championship, racked up 12 catches, 215 yards, and three touchdowns. Smith silenced any doubters thinking that he was not worthy of this year’s Heisman Trophy, the award given to the best player in all of college football. 

Nick Saban, the great Alabama head coach, has now won the most National Championships in college football history. Alabama had quite a run this year and had a historic end to a just as historic season. 

Even though Alabama was the favorite to win, multiple fans and analysts expected OSU to put up a better fight and/or win.

Ohio State came into the playoffs with a lot of doubt around them. The Buckeyes had the smallest schedule out of the four participants and were criticized because their regular season ended with them finishing six games. The Big 10 had heavy restrictions that only hurt Ohio State’s schedule length.

OSU’s dominance over their opponents during the regular season lifted them into the playoffs. Their high-intensity offense, led by Justin Fields and Trey Sermon, was too much for every team they faced. Overlooking the championship game, the Buckeyes defense was pretty solid. They held their opponents to less than 20 points on several different occasions. 

Despite their on par defense, the Buckeyes gave up 52 points last Monday. Their defense could not hold, and the absence of some of their key players only hurt them further. The biggest game changer was the loss of running back Trey Sermon. Sermon suffered an injury to his left shoulder just seconds into the game. The injury forced him into the locker rooms, and not long after, he was taken to the hospital. That was a blow to Ohio State, but it was not the end for the runner ups.

The first quarter was full of good defense by both teams. The Buckeyes defense gave up a single touchdown, but only a few minutes later, Ohio State was able to rack up seven points after Teague ran in a touchdown, as well as a good kick from Jake Seibert. 

The second quarter started off with an instant score by Heisman winner Smith. Alabama quickly had their lead shattered after Teague drove in a touchdown for Ohio State. The two sides scored once again but the Buckeyes were only able to capitalize off a field goal by Seibert, bringing the score to 17-21. The turning point for the competitors was the moment Smith ran in a touchdown off of a pass from Jones. No matter what happened, Ohio State would be forced to score at least two times for them to take a lead. The touchdown was also the first in three consecutive scores by the Roll Tide. 

The third quarter was not much better than the second. The Buckeyes ended up scoring a touchdown to snap Alabama’s 17-0 scoring run. The touchdown pass thrown by Justin Fields would be the last time OSU scored, bringing their typically stellar offense to a close. The Crimson Tide were not finished yet with the Buckeyes. One more touchdown was dished out by Jones a few minutes before the start of the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter was not as action packed as the previous quarters, but there was still time left on the clock. After the cascade of scoring by Alabama, Ohio State could not catch a break. Their defense ruptured again, this time Ohio State gave up another touchdown. The scoring drive capped off by a run from Najee Harris would be the last and bring the final score to 52-24.

Ohio State finished their season with only one loss, they were doubted by many but their big win over Clemson silenced some of the critics. Sadly their big win was followed by a tough loss to the hands of Nick Saben and the Crimson Tide.