3 Ways to Beat Alabama 3 Things that Must Happen for Ohio State to Upset Alabama. On Monday night, #1 Alabama will meet #3 Ohio State in Miami for the National Championship. Alabama is a heavy favorite to win their eighteenth national title, but I don’t believe the Buckeyes should be counted out so easily.
Ohio State is 7-0 and they only had one bad showing this season in a 22-10 victory over Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship Game. Ohio State can play with Alabama for four quarters, but a few things need to happen in order for the Buckeyes to hoist the National Championship trophy when time expires on Monday night.
Here are three things that must happen for Ohio State to upset Alabama in the National Championship Game.
3 Ways to Beat Alabama: #1 | Shut Down DeVonta Smith
Alabama wide receiver, DeVonta Smith has had a monster season. Smith’s efforts in 2020 resulted in him taking the Heisman Trophy back to Tuscaloosa. Smith was the third Heisman Trophy winner in Alabama school history.
Smith has been unstoppable all season long. The 6’1” senior has hauled in 105 receptions for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns this year. He terrorized Notre Dame in Alabama’s 31-14 victory over the Fighting Irish in the Rose Bowl Game.
Smith pulled down 7 receptions for 130 yards against Notre Dame. In addition to this heroic effort, he hauled in three touchdowns totaling 18 of the Tide’s 31 points on the afternoon. Alabama has weapons all over their offense, but the Tide truly roll when Smith is at his best.
If the Buckeyes secondary can neutralize Mac Jones’ favorite receiver, they’ll be able to limit Alabama’s scoring in the National Championship Game.
3 Ways to Beat Alabama: #2 | Make Mac Jones Uncomfortable
Mac Jones burst onto the college football scene in 2020. The senior quarterback went from a late round projection to one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. Critics have stated that Jones has a weak arm, but the senior has proven that he can make all the throws that are required to win in the SEC.
Jones efficiency has hurt opposing defenses throughout the 2020 season. Jones has completed 77% of his passes this season which is phenomenal. He has racked up over 4,000 yards through the air and 36 touchdowns in 12 games under center for Alabama.
The important statistic to look at with Mac Jones in 2020 is the number of times that he has been sacked this year. Jones has only been sacked 11 times in 12 games. The Alabama offensive line has done a tremendous job protecting Jones against some of the best defensive fronts in the country.
It’s much easier to complete passes when you have no fear of being sacked. This has allowed Jones to settle in the pocket and take his time picking apart opposing defenses. The Alabama star has only thrown four interceptions on the year.
Ohio State will need to disrupt Mac Jones’ rhythm in some capacity. The best way will be with a ferocious pass rush, but the Buckeyes will also need to change up their looks in the back end. They need to disguise their pressures and coverages to throw Jones off his game.
If Mac Jones has time, he’ll be able to destroy the Buckeyes even if Ohio State shuts down DeVonta Smith. Jones may not have a rocket arm, but he makes up for this with mistake free football. Ohio State can’t afford for Jones to play flawless on Monday night if they want to bring a title back to Columbus.
3 Ways to Beat Alabama: #3 | Run the Football
Ohio State is defined by Justin Fields. If Fields delivers, the Buckeyes can play with any team in the country. Fields can run the football, but he’d rather sit in the pocket and deliver strikes down the field.
In 2020, Fields has completed 73.4% of his passes for 1,900 yards and 21 touchdowns. The junior quarterback has found the endzone for an additional five touchdowns.
Ohio State is explosive on the ground as well. The Buckeyes are rushing for 272.6 yards per game. Running back, Trey Sermon, leads the Buckeyes on the ground with 868 yards on 115 attempts.
The Alabama front seven will be the best defensive front that the Buckeyes have seen all season long. It’s critical that they’re able to run the ball on Monday night. This is important for countless reasons.
If the Ohio State offensive line can establish dominance over the Tide on the line scrimmage, Justin Fields will have an easier time throwing the football. Alabama will be forced to shut down the run which will open up Fields to have a massive night through the air.
A solid ground game will also take time off the clock inside Hard Rock Stadium. This will remove possessions from Alabama’s potent offense which will make things easier for the Buckeyes on defense.
Alabama can drain opposing defenses because of their monotonous style of attack. Ohio State will need to play together in all three phases to have a chance on Monday and it starts on the line of scrimmage.
If Ohio State does these three things, they’ll leave Miami as the national champions. If they don’t, the Tide will roll to victory once again on Monday night.
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