Total Domination: How Alabama’s historic offensive trio made top tier competition look subpar

What do you get when you combine Mac Jones, Najee Harris and Devonta Smith? Pure magic.

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Hannah Saad | @hannah_saad21

You already know who I want to go up against,” Ohio State defensive back Shaun Wade said before the College Football Playoff National Championship game. 

Before the game, Desmond Howard said on the ESPN pregame show that if Shaun Wade guarded Alabama senior wide receiver DeVonta Smith, his draft stock would drop from first round pick to undrafted free agent. 

Although Wade’s draft stock might not plummet to those lows, Smith showed just how inferior Wade and other defenders have been compared to the Heisman Trophy winner. Smith finished the night with 215 yards and three touchdowns, but more importantly he continued his record-setting streak.

Smith set a new standard in his Heisman season finale, busting up the records for most receiving yards and receptions in a half of the National Championship, most receptions in a National Championship and most receiving touchdowns in a National Championship

Hannah Saad | @hannah_saad21

Smith was all over the field for the Crimson Tide. Returning punts and kickoffs and somehow being left open throughout the night, there was nothing Ohio State could do to stop the game’s most valuable offensive player. However, his performance was cut short after a hand injury early in the third quarter. But Smith’s absence only left more room for Alabama’s other two offensive luminaries to shine.

After the first half, Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian started to run the clock. When the Crimson Tide opened the second half with a 35 to 17 lead, the game was all but over. Alabama pulled away for good in the opening drive with a field goal from sophomore kicker Will Reichard. The Crimson Tide milked 7:13 off of the clock, and from that point on it was nothing but a waiting game. The Crimson covered sideline inched closer and closer to storming the field and being covered in confetti. 

On top of winning the Heisman, the trio of Smith, junior quarterback Mac Jones and senior running back Najee Harris won numerous other national awards, but none of them mattered to them if they didn’t walk out of Hard Rock Stadium as the crowned champions. 

“I’m really proud of this team from the top down,” Jones said after his dominant performance. “We set this as a goal to be the greatest team to ever play, and I think we made a valid statement.”

Jones went on to do what he, Smith and Harris do best: praise every single player on the roster. 

“I think we’re the best team to ever play,” he said. “This will probably be the only team to play an all-SEC [Southeastern Conference] schedule. I think we have to give everyone the credit.”

Jones specifically called out the sacrifice by junior wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and senior offensive lineman Landon Dickerson. He said that their injuries were extremely significant and that their hardwork and dedication to play in this game was phenomenal. In his closing remarks Jones uttered the words of many past champions:

“Anything is possible.”

Although much of the news and commentators of the game focused on Smith’s performance, it was the combination of Jones and Harris that closed out the second half for the Crimson Tide. Jones finished the night with a school record of 36 completions and Harris capped his night off with 158 total yards and three touchdowns. 

Throughout the year the three stars have praised each other at every turn. Tonight was no different.

“His commitment, his dedication in the film room,” Smith said. “I don’t think anyone has prepared as hard as [Jones].”

Even after Alabama was up 45 – 24 late in the third quarter, Jones and the Alabama offense did not stop trying to score. A deep 27-yard pass from Jones to sophomore wide receiver John Metchie III was the nail in the coffin for the Buckeyes as the clock hit 0:00 in the third. The drive was finished by a Harris touchdown. With that score he joined Smith in scoring three touchdowns during the night.

On top of his career-high 464 yards, Jones also threw for 5 touchdowns, both breaking and tying College Football Playoff National Championship records. It was hard to pick who out of the three had the best game, but the CFP Offensive Player of the Game was given to Smith. As always, Smith remained modest and revered the team’s dedication to finish the season as strong as they did.

“With COVID and everything going on, it made us just more of a team,” Smith said during the ESPN post-game ceremony. “Keeping our bubble small. The discipline of this team is like no other.” 

Individually, this trio’s discipline and talent was enough to make them each contenders for the most aspired-to trophy in college football. Together, it was enough to make them national champions and all-time greats.