Ohio State finally forced a punt, and Alabama settled for taking a 35-17 lead to the locker room at halftime. The Crimson Tide’s previous six possessions resulted in five touchdowns and a fumble, and wide receiver DeVonta Smith put on a clinic.
Alabama’s Heisman Trophy-winning star torched the Buckeyes for 215 yards and three touchdowns on 12 catches over the first two quarters. By comparison, Ohio State had 190 yards as a team.
While Tide quarterback Mac Jones completed 25 of 30 passes for 342 yards and four touchdowns, OSU counterpart Justin Fields, who threw for six touchdowns against Clemson in their CFP semifinal game, could manage just six completions on 15 attempts for 90 scoreless yards.
Running back Master Teague III, filling in for an injured Trey Sermon, was a bright spot for the Buckeyes, rushing for 62 yards and two scores on 12 carries. However, he was outplayed by Alabama back Najee Harris, who posted 111 yards from scrimmage, along with his own pair of touchdowns.
Facing the best offense among Power Five teams this season, OSU came into the game needing another big performance by Fields, plus a few stops by its defense. The Buckeyes have gotten very little of any of that, instead being served a heaping helping of Smith.