Clemson Tigers LogoQuarterback Deshaun Watson led the Clemson Tigers (14-1) to an upset of the 6.5-point favorite Alabama Crimson Tide (14-1) by a score of 35-31 in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

Capped by an epic performance from Watson the Tigers came back from a 14-point deficit in the second quarter to claim their first national title since 1981 and second overall.

The lead changed hands three times in the final 4:38 minutes after Clemson’s running back Wayne Gallman capped an 88-yard drive with a lead-changing touchdown from the 1-yard line.

After that Alabama’s quarterback Jalen Hurts drove down his team down the field 68 yards to score on a 30-yard touchdown run that gave his team a temporary 31-28 lead with 2:07 left on the clock.

Watson clinched the title when he capped an 80-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Hunter Renfrow that sealed the win with one second left in the clock.

Clemson not only handed Alabama its first loss in five trips to the national title game under Nick Saban, but also snapped the Tide’s 26-game winning streak dating back to September 2015 when they lost at home to Ole Miss 43-37.

Alabama was looking for its fifth title in eight years, however they simply could not contain Watson in the second half. The Tigers’ signal caller finished the game with 420 passing yards, 43 on the ground, three passing touchdowns and one rushing score while throwing no interceptions.

To make matters worse Alabama struggled to run the ball in the second half after Bo Scarbrough suffered a broken leg late in the third quarter. Up to that point the Tide’s leading rusher was having an outstanding night rushing for 93 yards and two scores in 16 carries.

Most  of Alabama’s rushing yards after that came via quarterback Jalen Hurts who finished the game with 64 yards on the ground, with 30 of them coming on the 30-yard touchdown run.

Although Damien Harris replaced Scarbrough he wasn’t as effective getting just 24 yards in five carries leaving many Alabama fans wondering what could have been had Scarborough remained in the game.

The absence of Scarbrough contributed to Alabama’s inability to kill the clock and sustain long drives to keep Watson off the field.  As a result, Bama’s defense was on the field for 99 snaps, something that wore them down as the game progressed.

Although there was pre-game talk of Clemson pressuring Hurts to force him to beat them through the air they could not get anywhere near him due to the outstanding protection from his offensive line. The Tigers finished the game with no sacks, no forced fumbles, no quarterback hurries and consequently no interceptions


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