We all know that sequels rarely live up to the original, however the college football championship game, a rerun of the previous season’s classic lived up to all the hype, eventually. Andy Turner looks back on an incredible National Championship game…
Alabama had rolled through the season undefeated without being truly challenged, many pundits saying this may be the best team of the Nick Saban era.
Clemson had lost a number of players to the NFL from a squad that wasn’t as deep as Alabama but what they did have was the best player in college football, Deshaun Watson.
Watson was unlucky not to win the Heisman trophy last season. He was less spectacular in the regular season this year but his supporting cast was less experienced. Alabama recognised his value and threat, if you judge by the early hits on him, one of which – a clothesline tackle which quite possibly should have been called targeting – clearly shook him up.
Clemson fell behind 14 points early in the first half, Watson looked out of sorts after the hit, while top receiver Mike Williams received a helmet to helmet hit that also smacked of targeting. Clemson got stuffed on a 4th down call and as we approached halt-time it was starting to look a little predictable with the Bama run game starting to roll.
The Tigers managed to put together a TD drive, finished by Watson’s 6yd run, and they were hanging in, helped by the fact that Jalen Hurts, the young Alabama QB, was unable to generate a passing game.
After half-time the real Deshaun Watson was back and with him came the Clemson offence. Despite an early FG and the one big pass play of the game for Alabama, a 68 yard TD pass to OJ Howard, Clemson went into the 4th quarter only 3pts down Watson with having thrown a TD to Hunter Renfrow.
Alabama seemed on the back foot, their defence was spending a long time on the field and RB Bo Scarborough, who was their only legitimate offensive weapon, had left the game injured.
With less than 5 minutes left Clemson RB Wayne Gallman scored to put Clemson in front 28-24 only for Alabama to put together their best drive of the second half as Hurts ran for the 30 yard TD that put them back in front with just over 2 minutes left.
Watson then led Clemson 68 yards in 9 plays, with a consummate display of pressure quarterbacking and hit a 2 yd TD strike with 1 second left on the clock. Champions Baby! Cue the Crimson Death star exploding!
- First time in the Saban era Alabama has lost when entering the second half with a double digit lead, 10 years 97-0
- Deshaun Watson in my inexpert opinion will be the best QB in this year’s draft. You can build a team around this guy, he reminds of Jameis Winston only without the drama
- Watsons game stats 36/56 420yds 3TD’s 1 Rushing TD
- Alabama will probably be back in this game next season, Jalen Hurts will get better
- Somebody tweeted that this was the curse of Lane Kiffin, that would be funny
- Clemson HC Dabo Sweeney with his aw shucks charm deserves a lot of credit for putting together a program that is going toe to toe with Alabama