Tha Sports Junkies 101

CFB National Championship Review: Clemson Shocks the Nation

Crimson Tide


Deshaun Watson leads Clemson the Alabama Crimson Tide 35-31 in a rematch of epic proportion

Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide team looked like they would control the Clemson Tigers early and often. After two punishing touchdown runs (25 & 37 yards) by running back Bo Scarbrough, the Tigers faced an early 14-0 hole and trailed by double digits for most of the game. On the final possession, Deshaun Watson led his team on a nine-play, 68-yard drive capped by a two-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow with one second left in regulation.

With the win, the Tigers have now won their second National Championship in school history, and the first since 1981. Clemson also has denied the Crimson Tide their fifth championship in eight seasons. Before the loss, the Crimson Tide, were 4-0 in National Championship games under Saban. Alabama also would have become the first 15-0 team in history, but Dabo Swinney’s squad also put a damper in those plans.

“There was no upset tonight,” Swinney said. “That’s the last thing I told them when we left the locker room. I said, `When we win the game tonight I don’t want to hear one word about this being an upset. The only upset is going to be if we don’t win the dadgum game.”

Clemson scored 21 points in the fourth quarter on drives of 72, 88, and 68 yards. Every single drive, was under less than three minutes. Quarterback Deshaun Watson showed the poise you would want in a quarterback with his team trailing one of the greatest dynasties in college football in a championship game. Although Clemson lost the turnover margin, they out gained the Crimson Tide (511-376) in total yards, first downs (31-16), and T.O.P. (34:44-25:16) Watson delivered a solid effort going 36/56, with 420 yards, and three touchdowns. After the game, Watson declared for the NFL Draft.

Watson got help from most of his playmakers as Hunter Renfrow once again burned the Crimson Tide defense for two scores. Receiver Mike Williams, who missed the game a year ago, made an impact with a four-yard score that provided a boost early in the fourth quarter. The biggest boost for Clemson however was the loss of Scarbrough, who suffered a broken leg late in the third quarter. He led the Crimson Tide with 93 yards, on 16 carries, and two touchdowns.

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables got the best of his counterpart Steve Sarkisian in his first game as offensive coordinator for Bama. Venables defense caught a break with Scarbrough’s injury but did a good job of affecting freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts who looked like a true freshman completing nearly 42 percent of his passes, along with 131 yards and a touchdown. Hurts also added a 30-yard score late in the fourth quarter.