Last Updated 2:03 PM, January 12, 2021

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

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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.