Last Updated 2:03 PM, January 12, 2021

Alabama wins 2020 CFP title behind DeVonta Smith's record-shattering first half

4:54 am, January 12, 2021

Alabama wins 2021 CFP title behind DeVonta Smith's record-shattering first half

Alabama is the 2021 CFP national champion. Alabama beat Ohio State 52-24 for the 2021 CFP national championship.

For the third time in six years, Alabama is the College Football Playoff’s national champion following a 52-24 win over Ohio State.

The top-ranked Crimson Tide re-claimed their place at the pinnacle of college football behind a record-shattering first half from DeVonta Smith. This year’s Heisman Trophy winner was unstoppable over the first 30 minutes, racking up 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns. He outgained the Buckeyes 215-190 in the half while setting seven school, conference and CFP records. Here’s every record Smith set Monday night:

  • Single-season receiving yards record (SEC)
  • Single season TD record (SEC)
  • Single-game receptions record (CFP National Championship Game)
  • Most yards in a half (CFP)
  • Career receptions record (Alabama)
  • Single-game receiving touchdowns record (CFP National Championship Game)
  • Multi-game receiving yards record (CFP, semifinal and final)

While a hand injury ended Smith’s night early, teammates Mac Jones and Najee Harris also rewrote record books. Jones set a CFP title game record with 464 passing yards and five passing touchdowns while breaking the FBS record for single-season completion percentage. Harris scored three total touchdowns to set Alabama’s single-season record and the SEC record with 30 scores for the season.

Alabama and Ohio State traded early offensive blows with the score knotted at 14 in the second quarter. But after the Crimson Tide pulled ahead 21-14, they held OSU to a field goal in the red zone before scoring the final 14 points of the first half for an 18-point lead at the break.

The Crimson Tide offense continued to roll (no pun intended) in the second half as they finished with 621 yards and punted only once late in the fourth quarter.

With the win, head coach Nick Saban passed Bear Bryant for the most national championships by a coach in the AP Poll era with 7. But unlike his first five titles in Tuscaloosa — which were orchestrated behind a punishing defense, Saban’s latest composition was an offensive symphony that operated in perfect harmony and crescendoed to an emphatic victory over the Buckeyes.

4:48 am, January 12, 2021

Alabama 52, Ohio State 24 | Final

There was no answer for the Crimson Tide offense, which eclipsed 50 points for the seventh time this season in a 52-24 win over Ohio State. DeVonta Smith showed why he was Heisman Trophy winner, piling up 215 yards and three touchdowns in the first half while Mac Jones threw for 464 yards and five touchdowns.

Alabama has now won three national championships in the CFP era and 16 titles overall. Here are the final stats from Miami Gardens, Fla.

Final stats from Alabama-Ohio State. Here are the final stats from the 2021 CFP national championship.
4:08 am, January 12, 2021

Alabama 52, Ohio State 24 | 13:15 4Q

Najee Harris found the end zone for the third time tonight and Alabama pushed its lead out to 28 points. The milestone of this drive belongs to QB Mac Jones, who is up to 464 yards passing. That breaks the CFP title game record that Joe Burrow set in 2019 (463). On that completion, he tied Deshaun Watson's national championship game record with 36 completions.  Jones also previously tied Burrow's passing touchdowns record with his fifth score in the third quarter.

3:58 am, January 12, 2021

Alabama 45, Ohio State 24 | 2:52 3Q

Alabama came right back after the Ohio State touchdown to push its lead back to 21 points. QB Mac Jones threw his fifth touchdown pass of the night, finding wideout Slade Bolden for his first career touchdown. According to the ESPN telecast, DeVonta Smith is questionable to return to the game. He was not on the field for the possession.
3:52 am, January 12, 2021

Alabama 38, Ohio State 24 | 6:45 3Q

Ohio State cuts the deficit to 14 points, needing three plays to go 75 yards in 62 seconds. That was the kind of drive that can put Alabama's defense on its heels and gives OSU some confidence. Fields ran for 33 yards to set up his 20-yard touchdown strike to Garrett Wilson.

3:37 am, January 12, 2021

Alabama 38, Ohio State 17 | 7:47 3Q

Ohio State came away with a big stop in holding Alabama's potent red zone offense to a field goal, keeping the game within three possessions after the Tide took more than seven minutes off the clock out of the break. Kicker Will Reichard converted a 20-yard attempt for the Crimson Tide's first points outside of the end zone.

It's worth noting that DeVonta Smith was not on the field for much of the drive.

3:04 am, January 12, 2021

Alabama 35, Ohio State 17 | Half

Alabama held Ohio State to a field goal in the redzone before scoring the last 14 points of the half to take an 18-point lead into the break. DeVonta Smith has been nearly unstoppable with 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns. He's set five school, conference and Playoff records. Here's what we know so far:

  • Single-season receiving yards record (SEC)
  • Single season TD record (SEC)
  • Single-game receptions record (CFP National Championship Game)
  • Most yards in a half (CFP)
  • Career receptions record (Alabama)

These are the first half statistics:

Alabama-Ohio State halftime stats. Here are the first half statistics of the 2021 CFP National Championship Game.
2:48 am, January 12, 2021

Alabama 35, Ohio State 17 | 1:48 2Q

If you haven't started a DeVonta Smith tracker yet, we're here to help you out. The Heisman winner just hauled in his third touchdown of the game on a 42-yard deep ball from Mac Jones. That brings the senior to 12 catches for 215 yards and three scores ...  in the first half. Smith's last catch gives him yet another milestone — the most receiving yards in one half of a CFP title game, breaking O.J. Howard's record of 183 in 2016.
2:41 am, January 12, 2021

Alabama 28, Ohio State 17 | 3:19 2Q

This is shaping up to be a potentially historic night for DeVonta Smith. The senior extended Alabama's lead with a five-yard touchdown, his 11th catch of the game. That breaks a tie with Clemson's Hunter Renfrow for the most catches in a CFP National Championship Game.

Smith also set Alabama's career receptions record with that catch and already broke the SEC's single-season touchdowns record earlier in the second quarter.

2:34 am, January 12, 2021

Alabama 21, Ohio State 17 | 5:21 2Q

Alabama came up with one of the biggest defensive stops of the half in holding Ohio State to a field goal and no yards after the Buckeyes had first-and-goal from the Alabama 8. Ohio State's red zone offense ranks 100th out of 127 FBS teams. 

Jake Seibert salvaged the drive with a 23-yard kick. It was Seibert's first career made field goal. He's active tonight after starter Blake Haubeil was unable to play.

2:18 am, January 12, 2021

Alabama 21, Ohio State 14 | 9:00 2Q

After Smith's milestone catch on the previous scoring drive it was time for Najee Harris to break a record of his own. The senior tailback scored on a 26-yard catch-and-run for his 29th touchdown of the year, giving him sole possession of Alabama's single-season record. Harris tied Derrick Henry with a rushing touchdown in the first quarter.

2:09 am, January 12, 2021

Alabama 14, Ohio State 14 | 11:43 2Q

Ohio State was in danger of potentially going down 21-7 after punting for a second time in the half. But linebacker Baron Browning capitalized on pressure successfully brought against Mac Jones, stripping the Crimson Tide QB of the ball before recovering it himself. Master Teague III took advantage of the short field, punching his second score of the game from 4-yards out to pull OSU level again.

Teague will receive the bulk of carries the rest of the night as Trey Sermon is out for the game.

1:52 am, January 12, 2021

Alabama 14, Ohio State 7 | 14:53 2Q

Make it 21 touchdowns on the year for the Heisman Trophy winner. DeVonta Smith went into the endzone untouched from five yards out on a screen pass from QB Mac Jones. The touchdown capped an 11-play, 75-yard drive and broke a tie with LSU's Ja'Marr Chase for the SEC's single-season receiving touchdowns record.
1:38 am, January 12, 2021

Alabama 7, Ohio State 7 | 4:55 1Q

Well, that didn't take long to knot things back up. Ohio State marched 75 yards in just eight plays as running back Master Teague tied the game at 7 on an 8-yard scamper.We could see a lot of Teague tonight after starting running back Trey Sermon exited on the first play of the game.

OSU quarterback Justin Fields got the Buckeyes into the red zone with a 36-yard completion to tight end Jeremy Ruckert. According to the ESPN broadcast, Alabama ranks last among FBS teams when defending tight ends and OSU took advantage early.

1:31 am, January 12, 2021

Alabama 7, Ohio State 0 | 8:07 1Q

Running back Najee Harris capped a 12-play, 78-yard drive on a one-yard touchdown run with 8:07 left in the first quarter. The Tide had four plays of 10+ yards on the possession, including a 22-yard catch by Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith. Harris punched in the game's opening score on fourth-and-goal after finding a gap on the right side. Alabama ranked ninth in red zone offense coming into the game, scoring on almost 92 percent of the time.

11:37 pm, January 11, 2021

Pregame: Alabama vs. Ohio State

Alabama QB Mac Jones Mac Jones looks to lead Alabama to its third national title in six seasons.

The college football season all comes down to tonight as Alabama and Ohio State clash with a national championship on the line.

Top-ranked Alabama boasts Heisman Trophy Winner DeVonta Smith and the nation's No. 2 scoring offense as they try to claim a third title in six seasons. Standing in the way of that is third-ranked Ohio State, which already owns one College Football Playoff upset of Alabama back in 2015 — the year of the Buckeyes' last championship. 

If OSU is going to shock the Tide again, they'll likely look to running back Trey Sermon (331 yards in the Big Ten Championship) and quarterback Justin Fields (385 yards and 6 touchdowns in the 2021 Sugar Bowl).

In a game with two offenses as potent as these, you're not going to want to miss a single snap.

1:47 am, January 6, 2021

Alabama vs. Ohio State: Preview, prediction

Either Alabama or Ohio State will add to the program's CFP pile.

The Tide hope to win their third CFP national championship as OSU attempts for its second when the two meet on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Both teams are also undefeated, though Alabama is 12-0 and the Buckeyes are 7-0. For much of the season, foes and struggled — and failed — to slow down these offenses. Ohio State RB Trey Sermon rushed for 331 yards to beat Northwestern and QB Justin Fields had 385 passing yards and six touchdowns in the blowout win against Clemson in the CFP semifinals.

Then there's Alabama. QB Mac Jones has 4,036 passing yards and WR DeVonta Smith has 1,641 receiving yards with 20 touchdowns and the Heisman Trophy. Smith is the first receiver to win the Heisman since Michigan's Desmond Howard in 1991.

One of the defenses hopes to slow down the efficient offenses, as this will probably be a high-scoring matchup.

The last time these two played, OSU upset No. 1 Alabama behind a huge game from star RB Ezekiel Elliott. Yet again, Ohio State gets a chance to shock the top-ranked Tide.

But could this meeting be different? Ohio State just saw Fields deliver with a big game against Clemson to knock out the Tigers. He may have to do that again, as Alabama will likely score plenty of points itself.

As has been the case all season long, Alabama will have Mac Jones throwing to DeVonta Smith a ton. That may be enough again.

7:25 pm, January 5, 2021

How to watch the CFP national championship game

Alabama and Ohio State look to complete undefeated seasons when the two play in Miami Gardens, Florida, on Jan. 11. Here's how you can watch:

  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • Date: Monday, Jan. 11
  • TV channel: ESPN
  • Online: WatchESPN
  • Location: Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida
7:24 pm, January 5, 2021

CFP title game history

This is the seventh season of the College Football Playoff. Both Alabama and Ohio State have won previously. In fact, the Buckeyes won the inaugural CFP title game in the 2014 season thanks to a win against the Crimson Tide in the semifinals.

Alabama has won two CFP crowns (2015 and 2017 seasons).

2015 No. 4 Ohio State 42, No. 2 Oregon 20 Arlington, Texas
2016 No. 2 Alabama 45, No. 1 Clemson 40 Glendale, Arizona
2017 No. 2 Clemson 35, No. 1 Alabama 31 Tampa, Florida
2018 No. 4 Alabama 26, No. 3 Georgia 23 Atlanta, Georgia
2019 No. 2 Clemson 44, No. 1 Alabama 16 Santa Clara, California
2020 No. 1 LSU 42, No. 3 Clemson 25 New Orleans, Louisiana
7:29 pm, January 5, 2021

Alabama vs. Ohio State: Stats breakdown

Though Alabama and Ohio State are both undefeated, the Tide have played 12 games to OSU's seven. The teams are also conference champions, with Alabama hanging on against Florida to win the SEC and Ohio State defeated Northwestern to take the Big Ten.

12-0 (10-0 SEC) Record (conference games) 7-0 (5-0 Big Ten)
No. 1 CFP rank No. 3
48.2 Points per game 43.4
19.0 Points allowed 22.0
535.0 Yards per game 544.9
349.3 Pass yards 272.3
185.7 Rush yards 272.6
353.2 Yards allowed 370.3
242.9 Pass yards allowed 281.1
110.2 Rush yards allowed 89.1
Mac Jones
4,036 yards (36 TDs, 4 INT)
Passing leader Justin Fields
1,906 yards (21 TDs, 6 INT)
Najee Harris
1,387 yards (24 TDs)
Rushing leader Trey Sermon
868 yards (4 TDs)
DeVonta Smith
1,641 yards (20 TDs)
Receiving leader Garrett Wilson
673 yards (5 TDs)
Dylan Moses
74 total tackles (6.5 TFL)
Defense Pete Werner
46 total tackles (2.5 TFL)
7:39 pm, January 5, 2021

Alabama vs. Ohio State: Series history

Despite the rich history between Alabama and Ohio State, the two have played only four times previously. Though the Tide hold a 3-1 edge, the Buckeyes won the last matchup.

In that last meeting, Ohio State upset the top-ranked Tide 42-35 in a CFP semifinal in the 2014 season. OSU then defeated Oregon to win the CFP national title.

Jan. 1, 2015 New Orleans, LA (CFP semifinal) Ohio State 42-35
Jan. 2, 1995 Orlando, FL (Florida Citrus Bowl) Alabama 24-17
Aug. 27, 1986 East Rutherford, NJ Alabama 16-10
Jan. 2, 1978 New Orleans, LA (Sugar Bowl) Alabama 35-6