Clemson rallies twice in final minutes to stun Alabama for College Football Playoff title
It was going to take a heroic performance to topple the Alabama dynasty in this year’s college football national championship game. And that’s exactly what Clemson got from Deshaun Watson on Monday night.
The Heisman runner-up played a near flawless game, throwing the game-winning touchdown with just one second to go to Hunter Renfrow, to cap arguably the greatest game in college football history and give the Tigers a 35-31 win.
The game included three lead-changes in the final five minutes, and one historic effort from Watson.
For the Tigers, things really got interesting in late in the fourth quarter. After trailing the entire game, Watson led the Tigers on a six-play, 80-yard drive, to give Clemson its first lead of the game at 28-24. Wayne Gallman punched home the score, and it seemed like the Tigers would hold on for victory.
Instead, the Crimson Tide came back with a touchdown score of their own. It included a fourth-down conversion (following a wild 3rd-and-16 completion), and then a trick play, where wide receiver ArDarius Stewart hit tight end O.J. Howard for 24 yards. From there, Hurts took off on a 30-yard run to give Alabama an inconceivable 31-28 lead.
Unfortunately for Alabama, they left too much time on the clock for Clemson.
Watson began the game-winning drive with a deep, 32-yard pass to Mike Williams, and then followed it up a few plays later with a pass to Jordan Leggett for a 17-yard catch. With nine seconds left, Watson threw a ball towards the end zone, but Alabama was called for a pass interference.
It gave the Tigers the ball on the two-yard line with just six seconds left, and Watson hit Renfrow for the game-winning score.
It’s the Tigers’ first title since 1981, thanks to Watson who finished the game of his career with 420 yards passing, 43 yards rushing and four total touchdowns.