Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields runs against Clemson during the first half of the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
- #1 Alabama clashes with #3 Ohio State in the CFP National Championship on Monday (Jan. 11, 8 pm EST)
- OSU star quarterback Justin Fields is probable after a vicious hit in the Sugar Bowl, while Bama is still holding out hope that wide receiver Jaylen Waddle will be able to return from an ankle injury
- See below for the injury reports of both teams and how potential key absences could affect the outcome
After a one year hiatus, #1 Alabama is back in the College Football National Championship game. The Undefeated Crimson Tide will clash with #3 Ohio State on Monday (Jan. 11, 8 pm EST), looking for their third title since the new playoff format was adopted.
Oddsmakers certainly expect Alabama to triumph over Ohio State, as the Tide are currently listed as heavy 9-point favorites. The Buckeyes are no strangers to the underdog role, having upset #2 Clemson in the Sugar Bowl, and it appears that star quarterback Justin Fields will be good to go on Monday.
Fields Suffers Scare vs Tigers
Buckeyes nation was left holding their breathe after Fields absorbed a vicious hit from Tigers linebacker James Skalski midway through the second quarter of the Sugar Bowl, but the future Sunday star barely missed a beat.
James Skalski was called for targeting and ejected after this hit on Justin Fields. pic.twitter.com/0oqTQCTEDi
— ESPN (@espn) January 2, 2021
He finished the game with 385 passing yards and 6 TD, four of which came after that crushing blow. There were concerns Fields may be more hurt than he was letting on, but he assured everyone this week that he’ll be on the field on Monday.
Ohio State Injury Report
|Paris Johnson JR.||OL||Undisclosed||QUEST|
Although the rest of the Ohio State injury list looks unusually long, the majority of the undisclosed cases are all COVID related. The Buckeyes were hit hard by the virus, forcing nearly two dozen players to miss the Big Ten Championship game, but all of their key starters are expected to be in the lineup versus the Tide.
2021 CFP National Championship Odds Tracker
Holding Out Hope for Waddle
As for Alabama, they’re about as healthy as any team could hope for after a long season with a few exceptions. Starting center Landon Dickerson will miss his second straight game with a knee injury, but luckily the Tide have an experienced lineman backing him up. Chris Owens started four games at the beginning of 2019 and filled in admirably for Dickerson in the Rose Bowl.
Malachi Moore: Highest-graded slot CB in CFB pic.twitter.com/JTkUsVC5q7
— PFF College (@PFF_College) December 26, 2020
There were some concerns about stud slot corner Malachi Moore, but he’s not even on the injury report and is reportedly good to go.
The name worth monitoring however, is wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. The projected first round pick in this year’s NFL Draft hasn’t played since suffering an ankle injury on October 24th, but the Tide are holding out hope he’ll be on the field on Monday.
Alabama Injury Report
He was back at practice this week and has officially been cleared to play, but it will be up to him whether or not he suits up. Less than three months removed from surgery, and with a future in the NFL to think about, it would be understandable if sits this one out, but that would be an incredibly tough decision to make.
First Jaylen Waddle sighting in Miami
Video from @arielle_schafer pic.twitter.com/sDEaI18nju
— Kyle Henderson (@Rivals_Kyle) January 10, 2021
Per Pro Football Focus, Waddle is the only wide receiver in college football with a perfect passer rating when targeted (min. 25 attempts), and is an all-SEC return specialist.
Make no mistake, the Alabama offense hasn’t missed a beat without him, averaging 48 points in the seven games he’s missed, but another weapon at Mac Jones’ disposal is the last thing the Buckeyes defense wants to see.
Chris began his career at Hockey Night in Canada over 15 years ago. He has since worked at TSN for over 12 years as a writer, line-up producer, field producer, newsroom supervisor for Sportscentre, and presently as a promotions producer.