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.
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.
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.
This is the third game that Hunter Renfrow has had seven catches. Two of the three have come in the CFP championship game against Alabama.
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.
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.