The 2021 college football title game will be a rematch from the 2015 bowl season. Alabama won a lopsided 31-14 victory over Notre Dame, and the Ohio State Buckeyes routed Clemson 49-28 in the Sugar Bowl. Those wins set up the College Football Playoff title game at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium between Alabama and Ohio State. The last time the two teams met was in the 2015 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. The Buckeyes beat the Tide 42-25 during that semi-final game.
Wide receiver DeVonta Smith caught three touchdown passes from quarterback Mac Jones during the Rose Bowl win over Notre Dame. Najee Harris ran for one hundred and twenty five yards, including a TV favorite “high hurdle” leap over a Fighting Irish defender. Both Smith and Jones are finalists for this coming Saturday’s Heisman Trophy. The wide receiver’s performance was recognized with the offensive most valuable player award for the Rose Bowl.
“My performance I wouldn’t be able to do it without the quarterback, offensive line, the running backs, the whole team,” said Smith of his MVP award. “The defense getting me prepare for the game today. I wouldn’t have been able to do none of it without them.”
Tide Cornerback Patrick Surtain II had five tackles, one for a loss, and a pass breakup that might have resulted in an interception, but he was just out of bounds when he caught the ball on that play. His performance was recognized with the defensive MVP award. Tide head coach Nick Saban tried to put both awards into perspective for the whole team.
“Not everybody gets honored, but everybody contributes to the success of the team,” Saban said. “And it’s that way in life sometimes, you do great things but you don’t get recognized. So, it’s part of it. And we had a lot of players do a lot of great things to do be able to get here and also to have success today."
This is the first time since the 2014 season that Ohio State has earned a slot in the championship game. Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields threw six touchdown passes to outshine Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence who sputtered in the rout at this year’s Sugar Bowl. The Clemson star is the presumptive number one pick in the NFL draft, but Fields outplayed him on this night by setting a Sugar Bowl record for touchdown passes.