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Analysis: DeVonta Smith, in just a half, wasn’t half bad

DeVonta Smith didn’t catch a single move after halftime. He didn’t should, both.

He’d completed loads.

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The Heisman Trophy-winning receiver from Alabama put his stamp all around the Faculty Soccer Playoff championship sport within the first two quarters, and the Crimson Tide are nationwide champions as soon as once more. Smith had 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns — all these scores coming within the second quarter — to steer the Tide previous Ohio State 52-24 on Monday evening.

“Final 12 months, they stated the dynasty was over,” Smith stated. “We do not cease. We simply hold reloading.”

He received all the things there was to win this season: the nationwide title, the Heisman, and have become the primary FBS participant since Michael Crabtree in 2007 to steer the nation in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

And after profitable offensive player-of-the-game honors Monday, subsequent cease, the NFL.

“Unbelievable,” Smith stated within the on-field interview, as garnet confetti littered the sphere. “We simply completed writing our story. That was the entire thing of us coming again, simply ending the story that we wished to put in writing. And we did that.”

Smith left within the third quarter, a towel draped over his proper hand, masking what was later revealed to be a dislocated finger. Smith stopped on his approach into the Alabama locker room to stare upon a tv mounted excessive over the left aspect of the doorway, trying out one of many numerous Crimson Tide highlights of the night.

He was answerable for loads of them.

“Smitty, clearly, had a terrific half,” Alabama coach Nick Saban stated.

Smith had 5 catches that went for greater than 15 yards, together with a 42-yard landing that pushed Alabama’s result in 35-17 simply earlier than halftime. He doesn’t a lot run as glides; think about, on one in every of his touchdowns Monday evening, he evaded a defender, the tip zone pylon, three photographers and a crane holding a digital camera — all on the identical play, and made all of it look straightforward, identical to the Tide did just about all evening.

“We could not fairly sustain,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day stated.

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After getting harm, Smith returned to the sideline along with his hand closely bandaged, sporting sweats and a masks with the Heisman emblem. His evening and school profession had been over, despite the fact that he tried to speak his approach again onto the sphere. However he wasn’t going to overlook the celebration, and knew his teammates would end the job.

“I simply believed in them from the leap,” Smith stated. “That’s what we do. That’s why you come to ’Bama.”

Alabama followers who had been at Onerous Rock Stadium, house of the Miami Dolphins, ooh-ed and aah-ed each time he touched the ball, simply as they did two years in the past when he got here to that very same stadium and placed on a present within the Orange Bowl to assist the Tide previous Oklahoma and into the CFP title sport that season. They misplaced that matchup to Clemson, denying the Tide back-to-back nationwide titles.

Smith has that second ring now, to go together with the one he helped safe as a freshman when he caught the game- and title-winning move from Tua Tagovailoa in time beyond regulation as Alabama topped Georgia for the 2017 season’s nationwide championship.

And now, one of many questions till the NFL draft shall be whether or not he and Tagovailoa reunite. The Dolphins — Tagovailoa’s crew — have the No. 3 choose on this 12 months’s draft, and if Smith continues to be on the board it’s onerous to think about him not getting taken there by a crew that received 10 video games this season but nonetheless missed the playoffs.

Once they discuss how Alabama navigated an SEC-only schedule in the course of the COVID-19 season with out a loss and received one other nationwide championship, some names will seemingly come to thoughts with ease.

Smith, in fact, shall be there. So will Saban, unquestionably probably the most profitable coach of his time. As will Najee Harris, who set the Crimson Tide single-season landing file with 30 scores.

And it might be a disgrace in the event that they forgot Mac Jones, who bided his time behind Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts earlier than lastly getting the keys to the Alabama offense in 2020 — solely to steer the nation in passing yards and passing effectivity, end second in landing passes and cap all of it off with a 464-yard, five-TD, record-setting efficiency within the title sport.

“To me, that is the last word crew,” Saban stated.

In Saban’s thoughts, Smith was that crew’s final competitor.

For all Harris did, for all Jones did, it was a thin child from Louisiana who was the perfect participant within the nation, the perfect participant on the sphere within the season’s final sport — placing up all his numbers in only one half of labor.

“Heavens is aware of what he would have completed if he performed the entire sport,” Saban stated.

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