MIAMI, Ohio (WOIO) - From a shortened season due to the pandemic, to key players and our head coach testing positive for COVID-19, to star playmakers out with injuries, The Ohio State University Buckeyes faced more obstacles than arguably any other season.
Nonetheless, they persisted to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff National Championship.
While it wasn’t the outcome Ohio wanted, it was the first time the Bucks were in this position since 2014 when they took home their eighth national title... another year filled with obstacles.
The now 7-1 Buckeyes battled the now 13-0 12-0 Alabama Crimson Tide for the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday after scoring a sweet 49-28 victory at the Sugar Bowl over the now 10-2 Clemson Tigers.
OSU came into Monday’s championship as the underdog with the No. 3 seed as Alabama sat in the top spot.
The Bucks win in the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, they will go home with their ninth national title.
The Crimson Tide won their 18th national title in Hard Rock Stadium with a 53-24 victory over the Buckeyes.
Alabama last took home the title in 2017.
The Buckeyes who missed Monday’s game include:
- K Blake Haubiel (who posted on Instagram that he contracted COVID-19)
- DE Tyreke Smith
- DT Tommy Togiai
All three are starters.
Buckeyes Now insider Brendan Gulick reported the following OSU players are also missed the National Championship:
- CB Cam Brown
- DL Jacolbe Cowan
- K Dominic DiMaccio
- DT Ty Hamilton
- WR Jaylen Harris
- OT Dawand Jones
- LB Cade Kacherski
- LB Mitchell Melton
- SAF Kourt Williams
- RB Miyan Williams
OSU Jaylen Waddle just recovered from a fractured ankle, but that didn’t stop him from playing.
While NFL stars appreciated his resilience, some disagreed with his decision to risk further injury.
Now, as for the highlights...
Just as the game was getting started, Buckeyes RB Trey Sermon walked off the field clutching his left collarbone after getting injured on the first carry.
ESPN reported the star player who was one of the most valuable players in OSU’s journey through the playoffs was headed to Broward General Hospital after getting X-rays.
Bama was the first to get on the board with a one-yard rushing touchdown.
Add the extra point and the Crimson Tide was off to a 7-0 lead.
But the Bucks’ momentum picked up with a quick drive featuring a stellar one-handed catch from TE Jeremy Ruckert and ending with an eight-yard rushing touchdown by RB Master Teague with 4:45 left in the first quarter.
The good kick tied the game 7-7.
Bama struck back just seconds into the second quarter to take the lead again 14-0 after a good kick.
The next time the Crimson Tide had the ball, the Bucks took it back with a recovered fumble.
Teague turned that turnover into a touchdown with a four-yard rush into the endzone.
Add the extra point and the game was tied again 14-14.
The Crimson Tide didn’t let that touchdown go unanswered.
Bama scored one of their own to claim the lead again 21-14 after the extra point.
During OSU’s next drive, Bama’s DB Jordan Battle was ejected from the game for targeting.
The Bucks got a field goal to inch up to 21-17.
But a five-yard touchdown reception and extra point brought Bama up to 28-17.
Crimson Tide WR and Heisman winner Devonta Smith soon scored his third touchdown of the night before the first half was even over.
Add the extra point and Bama padded their lead 35-17 just before halftime.
That would be the score going into the second half.
Smith put on a show in the first half, racking up 215 yards.
That’s 24 more than the entire Ohio State team had combined.
Remember those NFL players urging Waddle to sit this one out?
He limped off the field four minutes into the second half.
Bama came close to the endzone in the third quarter, but the Bucks kept them at bay and made them settle for a field goal, which inched the Crimson Tide’s lead to 38-17.
The 20-yard touchdown reception by WR Garrett Wilson kept the Buckeyes alive with 6:45 left in the third quarter.
Smith walked off the field to receive medical attention for a hand injury.
The Crimson Tide answered with six from a five-yard touchdown and one extra point on the board to increase their lead to 45-24.
The Buckeyes wouldn’t answer in the third quarter.
But Bama came out swinging with a one-yard rush in the endzone and an extra point less than two minutes into the fourth quarter to close in on that National Championship trophy 52-24.
Smith came back to the field with just over six minutes left to the game... but he wasn’t there to play.
He came back in sweats and his right hand bandaged up.
With no other scoring action, the Alabama Crimson Tide took home the National Championship for the sixth time in 12 seasons with a final score of 52-24.