National Championship: Alabama dominates Ohio State to cap undefeated season

MIAMI, FL — UPDATE @ 11:55 p.m.:

After a dominating performance Alabama defeated Ohio State 52-24 to capture the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship.

>>RELATED COVERAGE: Unstoppable Tide: Alabama routs Ohio St for national title

The championship is Alabama’s sixth title under head coach Nick Saban, and the program’s third since the advent of the CFP in 2014.

The Buckeyes finish their COVID-19 shortened season with a 7-1 record.

UPDATE @ 10:03 p.m.:

The Alabama Crimson Tide has the lead against the Ohio State Buckeyes, 35-17, as the first half of the National Championship game comes to an end.

INITIAL REPORT:

Ohio State and Alabama are set to meet for the second time in the era of the College Football Playoff, and like the matchup six years ago, the underdog Buckeyes will be looking for an upset Monday night.

>>RELATED: 6 years later, Alabama and Ohio State go at it again

The top-ranked Crimson Tide come into tonight’s National Championship game favorited by over a touchdown against the Buckeyes. A familiar story from the last time these two teams met, when #1 Alabama fell to the Buckeyes in the 2014 Sugar Bowl, a CFP Semifinal, ahead of Ohio State’s eventual win over Oregon for the school’s eighth national championship.

>>PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Ohio State coach Day expects QB Fields to play vs Alabama

Tonight’s matchup features two undefeated teams for the third consecutive season. Alabama enters tonight’s game 12-0, playing a near full season with only one postponed game despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Ohio State, 7-0, on the other hand has its season influenced by the pandemic at nearly every turn.

After nearly not having a season following the Big Ten’s decision, and later reversal, to cancel the 2020 season, the Buckeyes won five regular season games, but had three cancelled due to COVID-19 cases.

>>Fields’ day: No. 3 Ohio State routs No. 2 Clemson 49-28

The Big Ten adjusted the requirement of six games so Ohio State could play in the conference’s title game, where the Buckeyes would eventually defeat Northwestern. The win moved Ohio State into a CFP berth, that resulted with a definitive win over Clemson in the Sugar Bowl.

>>Photos: Ohio State beats Clemson 49-28 to win Sugar Bowl

The Crimson Tide are seeking their sixth national championship under Nick Saban. A win tonight would be the third for Alabama since the playoff’s inception in 2014 and the first for the program since 2017. Additionally, a win tonight would put Saban in a tie with Alabama coaching great Paul “Bear” Bryant’s total of six with the Tide. A win would also be Saban’s seventh individual, including the 2003 BCS title with LSU.

Buckeye fans will be watching the health and performance of star quarterback Justin Fields whose impressive performance in the Sugar Bowl propelled the Buckeyes to a victory. However he took a hard hit to his ribcage in the second quarter but played through the pain.

But all signs point to Fields playing tonight.

Alabama will feature Heisman Trophy winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith who had a three touchdown performance against Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl, played in Arlington, Texas due to COVID-19 restrictions in California.

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN:

Kickoff from Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium is scheduled for around 8 p.m. The game will air across multiple ESPN properties as a part of the network’s “Multicast.”

Ohio State’s radio network will also air local coverage across radio stations in the state.