The Clemson Tigers are on top of the college football world after a 35-31 victory over Alabama. It was a rematch of last year’s title game when Alabama defeated Clemson in a tight game. The Tigers got their revenge on the Crimson Tide this time around and were able to hoist the trophy after the clock hit zero. Alabama was favored by 6.5 going into Monday night, and looked in control for most of the game. However, their offense was very inconsistent late in the game and this allowed Clemson to pull off the last second win.
The game started off with Alabama controlling the line of scrimmage and having success in the run game. The Tide struck first with a 25-yard touchdown run from running back Bo Scarbrough. Their defense also stymied Clemson’s Heisman finalist Deshaun Watson and the rest of their offense for the first quarter and led 7-0 going into the second. That is when Alabama cashed in again with a 37-yard touchdown run by their massive halfback. Scarborough was dominating the first half of the game and was the reason ‘Bama was poised to repeat. However, the Tigers responded midway through the second quarter via an 8-yard touchdown run from their star quarterback Watson. Both defenses held tight for the rest of the half and it was 14-7 at the break.
The second half did not start the way that Clemson’s head coach Dabo Swinney wanted as they turned the ball over on their first series of the half. This gave Alabama great field position, but they were only able to convert a field goal to give themselves a 10-point lead. Touchdowns were scored by both Clemson and Alabama during the rest of the third quarter, keeping it a 10 point game heading into the final quarter of the college football season. This is when Deshaun Watson and the rest of the Clemson playmakers would solidify their greatness.
They started the fourth quarter with a bang as wide receiver Mike Williams was able to haul in a 4-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 3. The momentum of the game was starting to tip in the Tigers’ favor as Bo Scarbrough was injured on Alabama’s previous drive and did not play the remainder of the game. This made their offense inept as they were struggling to get first downs. Clemson finally took the lead late in the 4th with a 1 yard run from running back Wayne Gallman.
Would this finish the Crimson Tide since they weren’t able to move the ball at all during the quarter? True Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts gave fans this answer quickly as he drove his team right down the field and retook the lead with a dazzling 30-yard run that resulted in a touchdown.
Watson and the Tigers had one last chance if they didn’t want to experience the same devastation as last year. In the biggest moment of his career, would he lead his team down the field for a game-winning touchdown?
Yes he would!
Watson made some tremendous plays, including a 16 yard strike to tight end Jordan Leggett to put Clemson inside the 10-yard line. A penalty on Alabama resulted in the Tigers having the ball at the 2-yard line with 6 seconds left and a chance to win the national championship. That is exactly what they did as Watson rolled out to his right and threw a strike to wideout Hunter Renfrow to give the Tigers their second title in school history.
Prep senior Kyle Mitchell, an avid Clemson fan, shared his opinion on the game. “I felt as if the game truly lived up to the hype. It was a slow start for Clemson in my opinion, as a few hard hits had their offense on its heels. However, the defense played fantastic the whole game and bailed the offense out on several occasions. The second half is where things started to come together as the offense rallied with big plays from Mike Williams and consistent gains from Hunter Renfrow. Clemson played their best two games of the year when it meant the most.”
Senior Mark Majewski, a college football enthusiast, thoroughly enjoyed the exhilarating national title game and added his thoughts. “It was an instant classic and ended the crazy college football season in a great way. Deshaun Watson was definitely the best players on the field as he came up clutch when they needed it.”
It was one of the best college football national championships to ever be played and featured some spectacular performances. None were better than the one by the MVP of the game Deshaun Watson. He threw for 420 yards on 36 completions and had 4 total touchdowns against the #1 defense in all of college football. It was an insane performance by he and the rest of the Tigers and they are worthy champions.
Ryan Misko is a former staff writer for The Rambler and a member of the Cathedral Prep Class of 2017.