Ohio State’s loss to Alabama in the CFP National Championship Game proved the Buckeyes were out of their depth. Who bears the most blame?
Ohio State hoped to shock the world on Monday night. Instead, they were shocked by Nick Saban’s Alabama.
The Buckeyes came away disappointed in the CFP National Championship because of failures of game plan and execution.
That means it’s time to play the blame game…
Kerry Coombs and Greg Mattison
Two heads are supposed to be better than one. That didn’t seem to be the case for Ohio State co-defensive coordinators Kerry Coombs and Greg Mattison. Their defense was not prepared to stop Alabama’s offense and it cost the Buckeyes the game.
Crimson Tide offensive coordinator outwitted Coombs and Mattison at every turn. He schemed his most dangerous weapons open. He dialed up exactly what was needed at every turn.
It was a thorough outcoaching, one that the defensive coordinator will have a hard time living down.
Whoever was supposed to slow down DeVonta Smith
Smith won the Heisman Trophy last week, so it’s not like Ohio State’s coaches didn’t know they’d need to focus on slowing him down. Yet the Buckeye defense left him all alone regularly. They even matched a linebacker on him on one of his touchdowns. How does something like that happen?
It’s not just that Smith had a big game. He had a historically big game while really only playing in the first half. He had 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns before leaving the game with a hand injury.
A series of unfortunate events
The Buckeyes were going to be underdogs in the title game regardless, but it didn’t help not having several key players on the night.
The defensive line was particularly hard hit with starters Tommy Togiai and Tyreke Smith missing the game. The situation didn’t get better with replacement Jerron Cage getting shaken up early in the game.
The positive of getting Master Teague back was offset by an injury to Trey Sermon on his first carry of the game. Right guard Wyatt Davis left with a leg injury, setting the offense back even further.
Ohio State needed luck to be on their side to have even a chance of beating Alabama. They certainly didn’t have any.