Smith wins Offensive MVP off 1st half brilliance

Despite an injury that kept him from playing most of the second half, Alabama WR DeVonta Jones still tallied 215 yards…

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith set multiple records and was named Offensive Most Valuable Player of Monday night’s 52-24 win over Ohio State in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game presented by AT&T.

Smith, who was awarded the Heisman Trophy six days ago, exited the game early in the third quarter with a right hand injury. He returned to the sideline in the fourth quarter in street clothes with his hand heavily bandaged.

Asked about the injury after the game, Smith simply said: “I’ll be alright.”

The senior only needed two quarters to make history, as he caught a CFP title game record 12 passes. His 215 receiving yards were the second-most in a CFP or BCS game, and his three receiving touchdowns tied a BCS/CFP title game record set by USC’s Steve Smith in 2005.

Smith’s march into the record books began on the opening drive as a 15-yard reception broke an SEC career receiving yards record previously held by Jordan Matthews, who set the mark of 3,759 yards at Vanderbilt from 2010-13.

Smith also set the SEC single-season receiving and touchdown records. He caught his 21st touchdown on a 5-yard reception in the second quarter, breaking a tie with LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase, who set the mark last season.

Smith also broke Chase’s single-season receiving yards record later in the second quarter, going past 1,781 yards on the season.

Having to watch a portion of the game from the locker room, Smith credited his teammates for stepping up in his absence.

“It came down to the young guys just putting in the work, every day, every week, knowing if somebody went down, they were going to have to come in and do something big,” he said. I believed in them from the jump. That’s what we do, that is why you come to Bama.”

Monday night marked the fifth time in Smith’s career that he’d had 200 or more receiving yards in a game. His career best for receiving yards in a game is 274 against Ole Miss on Sept. 28, 2019.

Smith, who first gained notoriety when he caught the game-winning pass in overtime of the 2018 CFP National Championship as a freshman, leaves Alabama as the school’s all-time leader in receiving yards and touchdowns.

“Unbelievable,” Smith said of the Alabama’s season. “We just finished writing out story, that was the whole thing of us coming back, just finishing the story that we wanted to write and we did that.”

The Louisiana native is the No. 4 overall prospect and the highest-rated receiver on Mel Kiper’s Big Board. Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore won Defensive MVP and is listed as Kiper’s No. 2 DT.

ESPN’s Andrea Adelson contributed to this report.

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