The Clemson Tigers stunned the nation when they defeated the seemingly unstoppable Alabama Crimson Tide in the National Championship game in Santa Clara, California, on Jan. 7 in a dominating fashion, 44-16.
The game started off with a fast start with a 44 yard pick six by the Tigers defensive backman A.J.Terrell on Alabama’s first possession, giving Clemson an early 7-0 lead. Alabama fired back on its next drive with a 62-yard touchdown pass from Tua Tagovailoa to receiver Jerry Judy, tying it up to seven. Clemson scored again a few minutes later on a 17-yard run from Travis Etienne, bringing the Tigers back in the lead 14-7. The Tide came back with just six minutes left in the first quarter with a one yard TD toss to tight end Hale Hentges, followed by a missed extra point, leaving the score 14-13 at the end of the first quarter. At this point, it looked like this game was shaping up to be a game for the ages, but this certainly was not the case.
Alabama took back the lead with a chip shot 25-yard field goal just one minute into the second quarter, making the score 16-14. Following that, the Tide offense could not get anything going for the rest of the game. Clemson ended the first half with a field goal, making it 31-16. This blowout score had everyone on Twitter and around the country buzzing about the outcome that no one had predicted.
Throughout the first half, the Tigers defense recorded two sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions, one which was returned for a touchdown. They dominated Alabama’s offensive line the entire game while the heisman finalist, Tua Tagovailoa, struggled for the entirety of the contest.
The second half was basically a continuation of the first. Trevor Lawrence threw a 74-yard touchdown strike to Justyn Ross, who finished with six catches, including a crazy one-handed-catch later in the quarter, giving him a total of 153 yards and one touchdown throughout the game. At the end of the third quarter, Lawrence connected with Tee Higgins for another touchdown making the score 44-16, making that the game’s final score.
Overall, Clemson came out of the gate and punched Alabama in the mouth early, shocking the Tide and allowing them to never recover. Alabama looked dysfunctional throughout the entire game, not being able to get anything going on offense and could not stop Clemson on defense either. They had not been in a spot like this all year long, which may have been why the team looked so shocked and panicked throughout the entire game. Could this shake things up for next season? Will Clemson be the new team to beat? After that dominating one-sided game, it certainly looks that way.