Written by Adrian Beecher
Santa Clara, CA – In a showing of total domintion, Clemson defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide to finish the season 15-0 and capture their 2nd National Title in three years with a 44-16 win.
After a three and out from the Clemson offense to start the game, the Tigers defense stepped up big. A.J. Terrell picked off Tua Tagoviloa ana took it 44 yards the other way for the score.
Tua would make up for this mistake on their ensuing possession as he connected with Jerry Jeudy for a 62-yard bomb to ties things up at 7 with 12:05 left in the 1st quarter.
The shootout continued as Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence with Tee Higgins for a 62-yard strike to set the Tigers up in the red zone. Then on the next play, Travis Etienne took it 17 yards to the left side of the end zone after breaking a few tackles to make it 14-7 Clemson.
Alabama would once again answer, this time with a 10 play 75-yard drive that was capped off by a 1 yard TD pass from Tua to Hale Hentges. However, kicker Joseph Bulovas missed the extra point, leaving the Tigers on top 14-13.
After a three and out from Clemson, the Tide regained the lead with a 25-yard Bulovas field goal. Then it was the Tigers turn.
It would be domination to finish the first half for Clemson as they finished with 17 unanswered points and an interception to take a 31-16 lead into the locker room at the half.
Trevor Lawrence was 12 of 21 for 197 yards and a TD pass for the Tigers. Etienne had 7 carries for 24 yards but racked up two TD’s in the process.
Alabama’s Tua Tagovaiola completed 13 of 17 passes for 158 yards and two TD’s but threw two dagger interceptions.
To open the 2nd half, Alabama held the ball for just over 5 minutes before failing on a fake field goal on a 4th and 6 from their 22-yard line. Then on the Tigers ensuing possession, Lawrence connected with Ross for a 75 yard TD score as defender Saivion Smith for the Tide fell down in defense with an injury and had to be carted off the field. Huegel’s extra point was missed, leaving the score at 37-16 for the Tigers.
The Tigers would add another TD on a Lawrence to Higgins 5 yard TD connection. This made it 44-16 as Clemson struck the dagger.
In the fourth quarter, the Tigers wouldn’t score, but would keep the Tide out of the end zone on multiple goal line tries.
As the clock struck triple zero, it was a 44-16 Tigers win as they collected their 2nd title in 3 years, something head coach Dabo Swinney does not take lightly.
“There are so many great coaches that are so deserving of a moment like this and never get a chance to experience it. To get to do it once and do it again.. it’s a blessing and it’s simply the grace of the good Lord to allow us to experience something like this.”