The 5 moments that propelled DeVonta Smith to the 2020 Heisman Trophy

Nick Bromberg
·4 min read

Alabama’s DeVonta Smith became the first wide receiver in 29 years to win the Heisman Trophy on Tuesday night.

Smith’s win comes just six days before his Crimson Tide plays Ohio State in the national championship game as the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the ceremony and made it a virtual one. Smith accepted his Heisman Trophy and made his speech at Alabama’s football facility instead of in New York City.

The senior returned to Alabama in 2020 along with teammate Najee Harris to help the Tide win a national title after the school missed the College Football Playoff for the first time in 2019. And as Alabama is one game away from a national title, Smith is a huge reason why.

Smith established himself as the most dominant offensive player in college football in 2020. He has 105 catches for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns so far this season. With a statistical output like that, it was hard to find the defining moments of Smith’s season. But here are five moments where Smith showed he was worthy of the Heisman Trophy.

Punt return TD vs. Arkansas

Smith’s quietest receiving game of the season came on Dec. 12 in Alabama’s easy win over Arkansas. The Crimson Tide wore down Arkansas with its running game on that Saturday as Smith had just three catches for 22 yards.

But he also had three punt returns for 111 yards including an 84-yard return that he took back for a score early in the game.

Smith has now scored in seven straight games because of that touchdown and it’s very likely that he’ll end the season and his Alabama career on an eight-game scoring streak with a TD (or more).

Smith torches Georgia

Alabama’s Oct. 17 game against Georgia was the biggest game of the first half of the SEC season. And it’s hard to remember that Georgia led that game 17-10 in the second quarter and 24-20 at halftime.

Alabama then scored 21 points in less than 10 minutes in the second half to put Georgia away. The final TD was a 13-yard catch by Smith from Mac Jones that gave Alabama its winning 41-24 margin.

Smith finished that game with 11 catches for 167 yards and two scores. It was his second straight game with over 10 catches after he had 13 grabs against Ole Miss the week before.

15 catches vs. Florida

Smith entered the SEC championship game against Florida as the Heisman favorite and solidified his status ahead of the Dec. 21 voting deadline with a star performance in Alabama’s 52-46 win.

Smith had a season-high 15 catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns as Alabama fended off a late push from the Gators. Florida had no answer for Smith as he scored in the first quarter and in the fourth quarter to give Alabama what turned out to be its winning TD.

Smith’s first-half performance against LSU

Smith’s LSU game will be remembered by this absurd catch that he made for a touchdown in the second quarter.

That catch stands out in his own right. And it’s even more remarkable as the capper to a first-half performance that featured seven catches for 219 yards and three touchdowns.

Smith finished the game with just one more catch for 12 yards but Alabama didn’t need his contributions anyway. The Crimson Tide had so thoroughly blown out LSU in the first half that the second half was a formality.

Smith outgains Mississippi State by himself

Mississippi State could not contain Smith in the Tide’s win on Halloween. Smith had 11 catches for 203 yards and four touchdowns in Alabama’s easy 41-0 win over the Bulldogs.

Those 203 yards were more than Mississippi State gained all game. MSU rushed for just 37 yards on 15 tries and threw for just 163 yards on 48 passes. That’s a measly 3.17 yards per play. Smith, meanwhile, had three more yards than Mississippi State’s entire offense and averaged 18.5 yards every time he touched the ball. And to make Smith's dominance even more striking, he had one fewer catch that Mississippi State had first downs all game.

More from Yahoo Sports: