Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL — January 11, 2020
As the eyes of the sports world turn to the Sunshine State for the 1st of many high profile events this winter, The College Football National Championship game kicks 2021 off in grand style. The weather, fabulous! The scene, electric! The opponents, Alabama and Ohio State, two of the most storied programs in college football. Being there, priceless if you cheer for the Crimson Tide or the Buckeyes. Extremely expensive for the average football fan.
The Lasco Press promised to bring you the atmosphere surrounding the game that Michigan fans envisioned attending someday when they brought favorite son Jim Harbaugh back to coach the Wolverines. The excitement was not that palatable this weekend when Harbaugh’s contract was extended through 2025. Albeit, with much more favorable terms on behalf of the University.
To sum up the essentials, you might be happy to sit this one out.
How Much for a Championship Game Ticket
The listed capacity for Hard Rock Stadium, the venue for tonight’s game, is 65,326. Due to COVID restrictions, 16,000 fans will be in attendance. Media is significantly limited as are the activities fans can participate in.
Over the last week ticket prices for the National Championship have hovered between $3,000 and $3,600 on the secondary market. Quite an increase from $868 fans paid to enjoy the 2019 game when Clemson trounced Alabama 44-16 to win the title. Still, today’s price is cheaper than the $4,040 Alabama fans paid to see the Tide defeat the Georgia Bulldogs 26-23 in overtime at the 2018 game. (Source: ticketiq.com)
A parking pass will set you back another $400 to $500. For that paltry sum, you can arrive 2 hours prior to game time and tailgating in the stadium parking lot has been banned. So much for talking to fans about their pre-game experience.
Is the money shelled out to experience the event live worth it? I’m sure the assessment of that will, in part, be determined by who wins.
Alabama won the coin toss and deferred to the 2nd half. Ohio State received the kickoff and their offense stalled on its first possession. The Buckeyes suffered a costly early loss as starting running back Trey Sermon was injured on his first carry. Sermon, clearly hurting, was taken to the locker room unable to raise his left arm and later transferred to a local hospital for treatment of a possible collarbone or shoulder injury.
The Tide scored on their 1st possession, but not before Ohio State forced them into a fourth and goal inside the 1-yard line before Alabama’s Najee Harris punched it in to give the Tide a 7-0 lead.
Ohio State responded quickly using a spectacular catch by TE Jeremy Ruckert to set up an 8-yard TD run by Sermon’s replacement Master Teague III.
Making the score 7-7 at the end of the 1st quarter.
On the first play of the 2nd quarter, Alabama QB Mac Jones found Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith for a 5-yard touchdown pass to put the Tide back in front 14-7.
Ohio State recovered a Jones fumble deep in Alabama territory and Teague scored his 2nd TD of the game on a 4-yard run just over 3-minutes into the quarter. Evening the score at 14-14.
With the game turning into a track meet, Jones hit Harris for 26-yards and a TD. Once again Bama led, raising the score to 21-14.
Alabama’s Jordan Battle was ejected for a vicious hit on the Buckeye’s Jeremy Ruckert, who made the fantastic one-handed catch earlier in the game. Ruckert was stunned but got to his feet as officials confirmed the targeting call sending Battle to the locker room.
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The penalty gave Ohio State a first down deep in Alabama territory. However, the Buckeyes could only manage a field goal, Bama 21-17.
DeVonta Smith showed why he was the first wide receiver in 29 years to be named the best college football player in the country when he took home the Heisman. The last WR to win the award? Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991.
Smith highlighted back-back drives late in the half to score on passes of 5-yards and 42-yards. His first-half numbers, 12 receptions for 215 yards and 3 touchdowns. As impressive as Bama’s 35-17 lead in just 30 minutes of football.
Alabama came out to start the 2nd half looking like the machine they were before the break. A 16-play, 75-yard, over 7-minute drive on the 1st series resulted in a field goal giving the Tide a 21 point lead.
The Buckeyes signaled they were not ready to roll over and play dead. A 3-play, 75-yard drive capped by QB Justin Fields’ 20-yard TD strike to Garrett Wilson brought Ohio State within two scores, 38-24. The score came just a minute and two seconds after the Alabama score.
On the Alabama sideline, DeVonta Smith was being treated for an injury to his right hand that ultimately had the star of the game enter the locker room for further evaluation.
But, the Crimson Tide just has too many weapons. RB Brian Robinson Jr. came off the bench to rest Harris, he carried the ball four times for 32-yards. Setting up a Jones TD pass to Slade Bolden for 5-yards. It was Bolden’s first score of his Alabama career.
With 3-minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Mac Jones was putting up impressive numbers of his own. Completing 34 of 42 passes for 427-yards and five touchdowns. By the way, Jones finished 3rd in the Heisman voting behind teammate Smith and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence.
The final score of 52-24 showcased Alabama’s complete dominance of the game and, for that matter, the last decade in college football. They earned their 6th national title since 2009.
Smith was named the outstanding offensive player of the game, celebrating with his right index finger heavily bandaged.