By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
The No. 2 Clemson Tigers are the College Football Playoff National Champions. They defeated the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide 35-31 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Monday night.
The Tigers ended their season with a 14-1 record. The Crimson Tide also finished with the same record; however, they will be most remembered for the one loss.
The sequel was better than the original. This is Clemson’s first National Championship since 1981, also snapping Alabama’s 26-game win streak.
This was a rematch of the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship game, where the Crimson Tide won 45-40 on Jan. 11, 2016. In addition, this is the first Clemson win over Alabama in the three all-time meetings.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney joins Danny Ford to lead their teams to the National Championship. Swinney also won the 1992 National Championship – as a walk-on, or a crawl-on as he likes to say – for the Crimson Tide.
The Alabama defense had to go through 99 plays, the most ever in a game in school history. Since 1998, it is the second-largest deficit overcome in the title game (14), as the Florida State Seminoles overcame 18 points to defeat the Auburn Tigers in the 2014 BCS National Championship game.
Clemson had 21 points in the fourth quarter. In the past decade under Nick Saban, Alabama lost for the first-time when they had a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter. They were previously 97-0.
Tigers quarterback DeShaun Watson ended his career with 32 wins as a starting quarterback. Watson – who will enter the 2017 NFL Draft – tied Tajh Boyd and Rodney Williams for the most-ever in school history.
Clemson had 511 total yards. Watson had 420 passing yards and 43 rushing yards.
He accounted for four touchdowns. He threw a game-winning two-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow — who had 92 receiving yards.
Renfrow also caught a 24-yard touchdown pass. Mike Williams — who had 94 receiving yards — had a four-yard touchdown reception.
Alabama has only allowed 19 passing touchdowns in their last 17 games. Renfrow has four of them.
Watson also had an eight-yard rushing touchdown. Wayne Gallman – who had 46 rushing yards and 39 receiving yards – scored on a one-yard rushing touchdown.
Alabama had 376 yards. Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts had a 131 passing yards and 63 rushing yards.
Hurts accounted for two touchdowns. He hit O.J. Howard for a 68-yard touchdown reception.
He also scored on a 30-yard rushing touchdown.
In the past two games, Hurts had a 188 passing yards. In his last three games — against the Tigers, Washington Huskies and the Florida Gators — he had just 326 yards. He had 286 yards against the Auburn Tigers on Nov. 26.
The 57-yards against the Huskies were the worst of his season. Ten of the games this season, he had less than 200 passing yards.
Bo Scarbrough had 93 rushing yards and seven receiving yards. Once he left the game, there was clearly a difference.
When he was in the game, the Crimson Tide led 14-0, as he had both scores. He scored on a 25-yard rushing touchdown to go up 7-0.
Then, to go up 14-0, Scarbrough scored on a 37-yard rushing touchdown.
Crimson Tide kicker Adam Griffith also made a 27-yard field goal.
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