The Alabama Crimson Tide had the Clemson Tigers right where they wanted them, taking a 14-point lead into the fourth quarter of Monday night’s College Football Playoff championship game. And then it all fell apart.
Led by Deshaun Watson, the Tigers scored twice to take a 28-24 lead – their first lead of the game — with just under five minutes remaining and then stunned the Tide with the game-winning score with just one second on the clock. 35-31. Game over. Season over. Clemson title drought over.
There was plenty of credit to go around, from Watson to Hunter Renfrow to Mike Williams to the Tigers’ defense. But Alabama defensive back Hootie Jones wondered if the officials also deserved an assist for Clemson’s comeback.
“They were getting a lot of calls,” Jones said, via al.com. “We felt like the refs were just against us. I’m not saying we got out of poise on our own. We felt like it was starting to be taken from us.”
It’s worth mentioning that Jones noted that Bama deserved some of the blame for the collapse. And there wasn’t a ton of outcry over the “pick play” that resulted in the game-winning TD pass.
For the record, Alabama was penalized nine times for 82 yards while Clemson was penalized three times for 35 yards.