National Championship Game: 5 keys to victory for Ohio State beating Alabama

Ryan Day, Justin Fields, Ohio State Buckeyes. (USA Today)
Ryan Day, Justin Fields, Ohio State Buckeyes. (USA Today) /
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Trey Sermon, Ohio State Buckeyes
Trey Sermon, Ohio State Buckeyes. (USA Today) /

Ohio State’s pathway to victory is there, but it is a narrow one

3. Justin Fields cannot turn the football over more than once

Ohio State is talented enough to overcome a slight turnover differential deficit in a title bout such as this. However, if starting quarterback Justin Fields is inherently reckless with the football, there is no hope for Buckeye Nation towards pulling off the monumental upset. While he can throw a pick or fumble it once, anything more than that eliminates all margin for era for Ohio State.

2. Trey Sermon must hold his own vs. Najee Harris

Trey Sermon has been phenomenal since linking up with Ohio State. The former Oklahoma Sooners running back was instrumental in Ohio State upsetting Clemson on New Year’s Day, as well as keeping those feisty Northwestern Wildcats at bay in the Big Ten Championship game. While he does not have to outplay Alabama’s Najee Harris on Monday, Sermon must hold serve.

1. Ohio State pass rush must get after Mac Jones

The best thing Ohio State can do is create a muddy pocket for Heisman Trophy finalist Mac Jones to attempt to navigate. With Jones being nowhere near as nimble as Trevor Lawrence was for Clemson, this is how Ohio State wins the national title over Alabama. Taking away Jones and the passing game featuring 2020 Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith is beyond paramount here.

Overall, Ohio State has a chance to upset Alabama. It is about as likely as the Buckeyes beating Clemson in the Sugar Bowl, but getting a repeat performance across the board out of Ohio State might be pushing it. While this will not be an Oklahoma stomping Florida type of blowout, Ohio State will need some help to avoid losing by multiple scores on a neutral site vs. Alabama.

Does Ohio State have what it takes to upset Alabama in the national championship?

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