Chris O’Meara / Associated Press
When reality began for Ohio State faithful Monday, a simple look at the box̵
Alabama quarterback Mac Jones had 342 yards and four touchdowns, and running back Najee Harris had accounted for 111 yards and two scores. Broad receives DeVonta Smith–the winner of the Heisman Trophy– had caught 12 passes for 215 yards and three scores.
While the Buckeyes certainly thought about their missed opportunities, Crimson Tide did not have time to celebrate. They needed to go to the locker room first.
After all, there were still 30 minutes to play in the national championship match.
One last night, the Alabama offense was unstoppable.
The nation’s most effective attack put 7.5 yards per. Play in a 52-24 triumph. The dominant performance was a fitting end to a spectacular year for this device–an incredible collection of players and coaches who are now pretty much ready for new destinations.
Smith, senior, is a potential top-10 NFL draft pick. Despite missing the second half with a finger injury, he ended the 2020 season as the nation’s leader in receptions, yards and touchdowns.
Jones and Harris are likely to join Smith as first-round picks. Jones finished 36-of-45 with 464 yards and five touchdowns for zero interceptions, while Harris rushed to 79 yards, caught seven passes for 79 yards and made three goals.
Lynne Sladky / Associated Press
For good measure, Jaylen Waddle returned from what was once considered a season-ending ankle injury, playing a limited role and catching three passes in 34 yards. He is also a likely first player.
The NCAA does not count 2020 as a year of eligibility due to the coronavirus pandemic, so all four must declare the draft. However, they are leaving along with senior linemen Alex Leatherwood, Deonte Brown and Landon Dickerson.
Coordinator Steve Sarkisian is also gone.
The former head of Washington and USC, he accepted an offer on January 2 to become head coach of Texas. On his final day with Alabama, Sark called a perfect game that showed his players’ extraordinary skills.
Some of it was simple. On two 4th-and-1 games in the red zone, Jones gave Harris the ball. None of the calls deserve much praise, but after a weekend full of NFL teams playing scared, it was refreshing that the tide was aggressively early.
Sarkisian stuck to the basics and relied on run-pass options, screens, play-action roll-outs and zone beaters. Ohio State played to its Cover 1-Cover 3 identity, so much of it was expected.
But Alabama also used some ugly schemes to score its touchdowns.
In the first quarter, Sarkisian Smith sent in motion and pulled two defenders across the field. Smith turned in the opposite direction and jumped away from safety Josh Proctor–who also needed to recognize a crosser from the opposite side.
It wreaked havoc on the Buckeyes and created an effortless touchdown. Pretty good combination, no?
Warren Sharp @SharpFootball
this play design is so smart by Sark https://t.co/RbFkByfAes
Later in the first half, Sarkisian called for another simple Alabama-but-taxation for Ohio State calls.
Smith went in motion, changing direction twice and sprinting into the right corner of the end zone. In doing so, he beat cornerback Sevyn Banks even before the snap. Jones hit Smith in stride and he rolled in.
Justin Yellow @jgroc
DeVonta Smith scores again. #RollTide https://t.co/tU81Yz6LTd
This game was planned for a short yardage scoring situation, but more importantly, it gave Smith an ideal matchup. The latter point is most important to any play-caller, and Sark constantly arranged similar scenarios throughout the game.
Just look at Smith’s third touchdown.
Sarkisian knew that Ohio State’s reliance on Cover 3 meant he could get Smith on a linebacker. Tuf Borland was in the nauseating matchup. It is not his fault that he followed the defensive call, but Borland had absolutely no chance.
UConn has a football team @UConnHasAFBTeam
Sark underlined the Buckeyes with jet moves, fake bubble screens, fake bubbles for wheel routes and so on. He called a brilliant game in his Alabama finale.
But when Smith and Sarkisian deservedly landed the headline, Jones and Harris also flourished. A piece illustrated the influence they had.
On the third possession of the tide, Ohio State linebacker forced Baron Browning and regained a fumble after a perfectly timed flash. On the next drive, Browning performed another flash. But this time, Jones saw the pressure and lifted a pass to Harris that caused two defenders to miss and scored his second touchdown.
Najee Harris is a freakin ‘touchdown machine. Goodness. 21-14 Alabama. https://t.co/cBBAdrZrZD
Whatever Ohio State did, Sarkisian had an answer. His solutions, however, revolved around his playmakers.
And the Buckeyes could not stop Smith, Jones or Harris.
They are, of course, in good company. All three players finished among the top five in the Heisman poll. No defense kept Alabama under six yards per carry. Games, and Crimson Tide averaged 48.5 points per game on their way to a 13-0 record and their sixth national championship in 12 years.
With only a handful of amazing decisions, the offense will be significantly different next season. Alabama is not short on talent considering 5-star talent Bryce Young will replace Jones and John Metchie III will lead the receiving corps. Still, it will pose a revised unit led by the new coordinator Bill O’Brien.
It’s coming, but it’s waiting.
On one last night, Crimson Tide was overwhelming. Smith, Jones, Harris, Sarkisian and Co. leaving Capstone as the offense that could not be stopped.
Follow Bleacher Report college football writer David Kenyon on Twitter @ Kenyon19_BR.