Clemson Shocks Alabama 35-31 for National Championship

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Clemson Shocks Alabama 35-31 for National Championship
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09: Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow #13 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates with wide receiver Deon Cain #8 after catching a 24-yard touchdown pass during the third quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Unlike most Hollywood blockbusters the first ever college football title game rematch was just as good as its predecessor. However this time the result was different as Clemson shocked Alabama 35-31 to win the college football national championship.

Playing in front of record crowd of 74,512 at Raymond James Stadium the game followed a familiar script. The victory gives Clemson their second national title and first since 1981. The win also deprives Nick Saban his sixth title, which would have tied him with another  Alabama legend Bear Bryant.

After converting a 4th and 1 on a run by Damien Harris, the Tide took a 31-28 lead on a 30 yard touchdown run by Jalen Hurts.

The Tigers came right back and scored with one second left on a two yard pass from Deshaun Watson to Hunter Renfrow for the victory.

The Crimson Tide jumped out to an early 7-0 lead sparked by what else their defense. After stopping Tiger running back Wayne Gallman on a 4 and 1 at their own 40, the Tide drove it right down the field. The scoring drive was capped off by a 25 yard run by Bo Scarbrough.

With 10:42 left in the second quarter, Scarbrough’s second touchdown run made it 14-0 Alabama.

The two teams traded punts before Clemson finally got on the board midway through the period. A seven play 87 yard drive capped by an eight yard run by Deshaun Watson made it 14-7 and that was the score at the half. Despite the deficit the Tigers actually outgained Alabama 203-183.

The Tide’s Ryan Anderson forced and recovered a Gallman fumble at the Clemson 16. However the Tigers held and Bama upped the lead to 17-7 on a 27 yard field goal by Adam Griffith.

After a poor punt gave them great field position the Tigers drove down the field and cut the lead to 17-14 on a 24 touchdown pass from Watson to Hunter Renfrow. While not the main target for Watson he has a knack for coming up huge in the big games.

 

On the next series Hurts finally got something going via the pass hitting tight end O.J. Howard with a 68 yard touchdown that made it 24-14. For Clemson fans it was a painful reminder to last season when Howard had two touchdowns in the title game.

Dabo Swinney‘s club answered right back when Watson hit Mike Williams on a four yard touchdown to cut the lead to 24-21 one minute into the fourth quarter.

When Scarbrough went out with an injury the Tiger defense forced Hurts to beat them with the pass. The offense under new coordinator Steve Sarkisian could only get one first down the on their next three possessions.

In what is likely his final game in college Watson had 436 yards and three touchdowns.

He added 43 more yards on the ground and another touchdown.

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