Santa Clara, CA – Clemson just went three & out to start the game. Now it was Alabama time, led by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa who became a household name last season in the College Football Playoff Semifinal against this same school.
This time the Tigers were ready for Tagovailoa when A.J. Terrell jumped the route for a pick six and ignited a 44-16 victory in CFP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP game at Levis Stadium.
Now Clemson with this win has won its second National Championship in three years over previous No 1 team Alabama.
“Just amazing. I’m so proud of our team,” said Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, “But tonight, there’s no doubt.”
Led by true freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence who finished the game with 347 yards three touchdowns. Lawrence targeted nine different receivers in this game, but it was his your guns who stepped up making some crazy catches to move the chains.
Justyn Ross led Clemson receivers with 154 yards and huge 74 yard touchdown catch with a shake & bake in the third quarter making the score 37-16 8:04 to play.
Just as impressive was running back Travis Etienne who in the red zone was a dual threat scoring two rushing touchdowns and catching a touchdown pass as well. He carried ball 14 times for 86 yards average 6.1 yards.
“The games like this you’ve got to make big plays,” said Lawrence, “You just give them a chance, and they’ll come down with it.(football)”
Alabama coach Nick Saban never seem to be hot or cold today wearing a poker face all game. He saw his quarterback make some mistake but shake it off and score at least in the first quarter.
Turnovers added fuel to fire for the Clemson offense and kept Alabama offense off the field.
The defensive line who looks like they all should be playing on Sundays right now gave Alabama all they could handled. The elusive Tagovailoa was only sacked twice but they were applying pressure all night.
Safety Isaiah Simmons led Clemson with nine tackles, six solo with a tackle for a loss. It was the secondary who benefited from front line play.
The front line anchor Christian Wilkins recorded four tackles and .05 sack leading their charge in the absence of Dexter Lawrence.
Before the Tigers left the field, he already challenged his team that they need to learn from this win and be ready to back for next year championship.
“So thankful, and can’t wait to get back started Friday and see if we can find a way to go do it again,” said Swinney.