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Ohio State had absolutely no answer for DeVonta Smith in the first half of Monday night’s national championship game.
The 2020 Heisman winner had 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns in the first two quarters against the Buckeyes. Smith’s 18 points he scored himself were more than Ohio State as Alabama led 35-17 at the half on the way to an easy 52-24 win.
Smith also had more yards than the entire Ohio State offense. The Buckeyes racked up 190 yards of offense in the first half on 34 plays. The performance in the first 30 minutes netted him the offensive player of the game award.
Ohio State defensive back Shaun Wade said that he was looking forward to playing Smith on Monday night and, well, it didn’t go too smoothly for him. Wade was beaten multiple times by Smith throughout the first two quarters.
Smith was used in a multitude of ways by Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Smith went in motion and caught passes out of the backfield and torched Ohio State on short, intermediate and deep routes.
Smith’s first touchdown of the night came when he motioned toward the backfield and split out to the flat after a fake handoff to Najee Harris. He was wide open for the score.
Smith set the Alabama record for most receptions in a game when he caught 15 passes against Florida in the SEC championship game. He was set to break that record with four catches in the second half but went to the locker room with less than six minutes to go in the third quarter after suffering an injury to a finger on his right hand. He ended up not catching a pass in the second half.
Smith’s hand got smashed as he got hit while trying to catch a pass. He received treatment from Alabama’s medical staff on the sidelines in the team’s injury tent before he went into the locker room with a towel covering his right hand.
After Smith left the field Alabama confirmed that he suffered a hand injury and was questionable to return. But he never came back into the game and returned to the sideline halfway through the fourth quarter without his uniform and his right hand wrapped up.
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