Richmond Times-Dispatch

Smith’s one half too much for Buckeyes

Tide’s star wideout had 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — DeVonta Smith did not catch a pass after halftime. It wasn’t necessary. He’d done plenty.

The Heisman Trophy-winning receiver from Alabama put his stamp on the College Football Playoff championsh­ip game in the first two quarters, and the Crimson Tide are national champions again. Smith had 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns— all those scores coming in the second quarter — to lead the Tide past Ohio State 52-24 on Monday night.

“Last year, they said the dynasty was over,” Smith said. “We don’t stop. We just keep reloading.”

He won everything there was to win this season: the national title, the Heisman, and became the first FBS player since Michael Crabtree in 2007 to lead the nation in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

And after winning offensive player-of-the-game honors Monday, next stop, the NFL.

“Unbelievab­le,” Smith said in

the on-field interview. “We just finishedwr­iting our story. That was the whole thing of us coming back, just finishing the story that we wanted to write. And we did that.”

Smith left in the third quarter, a

towel draped over his right hand, covering whatwas later revealed to be a dislocated finger. Smith stopped on his way into the Alabama locker room to gaze at a television mounted high over the left side of the entrance, checking out one of the countless Crimson Tide highlights of the evening.

He was responsibl­e for plenty of them.

“Smitty, obviously, had a great half,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said.

Smith had five catches that went for more than 15 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown that pushed Alabama’s lead to 35-17 just before halftime. He doesn’t so much run as glides; consider, on one of his touchdowns Monday night, he evaded a defender, the end zone pylon, three photograph­ers and a crane holding a camera— all on the same play, and made it all look easy, just like the Tide did pretty much all night.

“We couldn’t quite keep up,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said.

After getting hurt, Smith returned to the sideline with his hand heavily bandaged, wearing sweats and a mask with the Heisman logo. His night and college career were over, even though he tried to talk his way back onto the field. But he wasn’t going to miss the celebratio­n, and knew his teammates would finish the job.

“I just believed in them from the jump,” Smith said. “That’s what we do. That’s why you come to ’Bama.”

 ?? THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Wideout DeVonta Smithwas the offensive player of the game in Alabama’swin over Ohio State in Monday night’s national final.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Wideout DeVonta Smithwas the offensive player of the game in Alabama’swin over Ohio State in Monday night’s national final.

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