3. Ohio State was missing too many guys
Alabama was winning this game. It had a brilliant game plan, it was executing everything to perfection, and the team clearly didn’t have any sort of issues with the moment of the mindset.
This Crimson Tide team wasn’t going to blow this game.
However, Ohio State wasn’t right.
Yeah, it mattered that it was missing two starting defensive linemen. You don’t just replace your top interior pass rusher – Tommy Togiai was part of the list of players out – along with 12 other players and be totally fine.
Yeah, it mattered when Trey Sermon – who ran for 636 yards and four touchdowns in the previous three games – was knocked out of the game right away, and it mattered when NFL first round offensive lineman Wyatt Davis went down.
And it mattered that Justin Fields wasn’t nearly the Justin Fields that ripped through Clemson. He battled through and finished the game, but he needed to be the best player on the field, and he wasn’t.
The Ohio State issues isn’t an excuse. The game might have been closer, but again, Bama wasn’t losing this.