The College Football National Championship Trophy is heading back to Death Valley!
Trevor Lawrence lit up Levi’s Stadium and the Tigers defence stemmed the Crimson Tide for a 44-16 Clemson win over Alabama.
The game started out as a shootout and ended with Alabama being shut down in spectacular style.
Lawrence, the offensive MVP of the game, became the first freshman to start and win a Championship game since 1985. He showed composire and toughness beyond his years to guide Clemson to the win.
Much has been made of the Clemson defence this year and rightly so. Defensive co-ordinator Brent Venables had the perfect game plan to combat Tua Tagovailoa and the ‘Bama offence.
Shootout to start…
Winning the toss and electing to kick appeared to be the right choice for Alabama when they forced a three and out.
However, Tagovailoa was picked off by AJ Terrell who took it to the house for the Clemson lead. Unbelievably it was the first defensive touchdown in National Championship history.
Tua trudged back to the bench mouthing “that’s on me” but quickly showed his resolve. On the next drive he found a wide open Jerry Jeudy for a 62 yard tying touchdown.
Not to be outdone, Trevor Lawrence went to work. With a three man rush bearing down on him, he hit Tee Higgins for a big gain. The next play Travis Etienne broke through two tackles for a 17 yard touchdown and a 14-7 lead.
The wild opening continued as Tua lead a ten play drive down the field. Najee Harris dived in to the end zone for a touchdown but the call was reversed. Tagovailoa rolled out on the next play and found tight end Hale Hentges wide open for the score.
After forcing Clemson to punt on the next possession, ‘Bama looked to drive down the field. A false start penalty on Wills Jr cost them crucial yards before Austin Bryant busted a pitch pass to Damien Harris and stuffed the running back to force a field goal.
The successful kick made the game 16-14. However, it was the last lead that Alabama would have in the game.
Tigers Tame the Tide…
The Tigers offence put up 30 straight points with no reply and become the first team in modern College Football to go 15-0.
Lawrence had 347 yards and three touchdowns on the night. Travis Etienne had three scores of his own. Freshman receiver Justyn Ross had 153 receiving yards including a 74 yard touchdown.
Time and again the Alabama offence was stymied by the Tigers defence as they tried to get back in to the game.
Trayvon Mullen got the second interception of the game and his first of the year.
Wilkins, Bryant, Ferrell and Huggins all made big plays at crucial times. Nyles Pickney made a huge play to foil a fake field goal attempt.
The loss was Nick Saban’s biggest defeat as Alabama head coach.
Many people had bemoaned the “same old boring” matchup of Clemson versus Alabama.
It was far from boring and a phenomenal end to a fantastic season of College Football.
Photo Credit: Associated Press