RICHMOND- You got me once, but I came back out flexing my superior muscle, at least for now.

The thoughts of Minnesota’s Nibir Sarma to Indiana’s Tyler Combs in Game 1 of the 2020 Jeopardy College Championship Finals.

Sarma dominated Combs and USC’s Xiaoke Ying by a score of $22,195 to $200 to $800.

Those are the scores that will be added to tomorrow’s game to determine which player gets the trophy and $100,000.

Sarma had been defeated by Combs in the quarterfinals but earned a high enough score to advance as a wild-card. Ying also advanced as a wild card to the second round.

In the first round, Sarma got hot. He found the Daily Double in “American History” and risked it all but fell behind after missing the clue. No problem, brush it off and go ahead.

Indeed he did and he cruised the rest of the round. Combs and Ying didn’t go too far behind and their buzzer speed kept them close to within striking distance.

After round 1, Sarma held the lead at $6,400 to Combs’ $4,400 and Ying’s $3,200. Plenty of time to catch up and make the margin of error razor thin,

Nope. Not this time. Combs found the first Daily Double in “French Geography” and missed it. But Sarma found the second Daily Double in “Poetry for Physicists”. He bet it all. And got it right.

Oof, that’s a tough one to swallow for the other two as their buzzer speed drained and Sarma ripped off answer after answer to lock away the game.

Going into Final Jeopardy, the score stood Nibir $25,200, Xiaoke $8,800, and Tyler at $5,200. If this was a regular game, game over.

But remember, it’s a two day total point so wagering today will be critical. If done correctly, tomorrow just might be a tighter game, if wrong, the hill will be very hard to climb.

The Final Jeopardy Category: Shakespeare’s Plays. The Clue: An account of a deposed Duke of Genoa in a 1549 “History of Italy” is a presumed source for this play. The Answer: The Tempest.

Combs missed it and lost $5,000, dropping him to $200. Ying missed it as well and lost $8,000 dropping her to $800. Sarma completed the triple stumper but only lost $3,005 dropping him to $22,195.

Talk about a tough clue with a subject that most of us know about through our English classes. The Tempest, to be fair, is one of the tougher Shakespeare works to comprehend.

That said, these standings are what they are after Day 1. It’s make or break for each of the three players. And there’s only one game for that.

Up next: Part 2. Indiana ($200) vs Minnesota ($22,195) vs USC ($800)

This currently looks like a runaway. The tables could be turned in a single game. And Day 2 usually pulls off a surprise.

Many times in the past, a player in distant third after day 1, came back to win the entire thing. The highest comeback was by Meryl Federman in 2007 when she overcame a $0 on Day 1 to win the Teen Summer Games.

Will Nibir deliver the final blow? Will Xiaoke pull off her own comeback? Will Tyler be able to deliver a performance replicating his earlier success and come back?

It all comes down to tomorrow. Only one school will go home with the top prize of $100,000 and a berth in the Tournament of Champions. Stay Tuned.