And so, the Goliath of college football has finally fallen. The Clemson Tigers defeated the previously undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide on Monday night, 35-31, claiming only their second National Championship, and first since 1981. The Tigers rode a masterful performance from quarterback Deshaun Watson, who threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns, while also running for 43 yards and a score. Clemson closed out the title game by scoring three touchdowns in the 4th quarter.
The game started off all Tide, with monstrous running back Bo Scarbrough rushing for a 25 yard touchdown to put Alabama up 7-0. Scarbrough then busted out a 37 yard touchdown later in the first quarter to push the lead to two scores. Clemson looked lost against the Crimson Tide defense that features at least six future NFL first round draft picks. As the first half was coming to a close, Watson ran for an 8 yard touchdown to close the gap to a one score game. The score ended up being 14-7 at halftime.
The second half didn’t start the way the Tigers would’ve liked when running back Wayne Gallman fumbled the ball, setting Alabama up on Clemson’s 16 yard line. The Tide failed to punch it in, settling for a field goal to go up 17-7. Clemson responded later in the third, Watson firing a strike to the 5’9 Hunter Renfrow for a 24 yard score. Twitter was wild with jokes after Renfrow’s catch and run, because he shares physical similarities to NFL wide receiver Julian Edelman, and the New England Patriots have had success with receivers of Renfrow’s physique. @PFTCommenter on Twitter said, “The New England Patriots have already retired Hunter Renfrow’s number”.
Later in the 3rd quarter, Alabama tight end OJ Howard got loose on broken coverage from the Tigers and caught a 68 yard touchdown pass, pushing the lead back up to ten. Deshaun Watson once again had an answer in the beginning of the closing quarter, throwing a four yard fade route to wide receiver Mike Williams. 24-21. In the waning minutes of the game, the Tigers drove down the field and scored on a Wayne Gallman touchdown run to take the lead, 28-24. With only two minutes left in the game, Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts ran 30 yards to the house to put the Tide back up 31-28.
Deshaun Watson was unfazed. He was not scared in the slightest. Watson, the future first round NFL draft pick, led the Tigers down the field on a 67 yard drive. With one second left in the game, Watson rolled to the right and delivered a cold blooded throw to Hunter Renfrow to give the Tigers a 35-31 National Championship victory and finally take down the Crimson Tide, getting revenge for last year’s title game which they fell 44-41. Watson and the Tigers gave a spectacular show to close out the college football season, and he ends his college career a champion.