The College Football Playoff Championship: We are tracking the top plays and big moments everybody will be talking about
- Clemson and Alabama faced off in the College Football Playoff for the third time in four years.
- After a scorching start to the game, Clemson’s defense took over and Alabama made some questionable decisions.
- In the end, Clemson scored the final 30 points for the 44-16 win and their second championship in three years.
The Clemson Tigers are national champions for the second time in three years as they blew out Alabama, 44-16 in the College Football Playoff championship game.
The game got off to a wild start, with the two teams exchanging scores and totaling four touchdowns in the first eight minutes. But over the final two-and-a-half quarters, Clemson’s defense turned up the heat and Alabama made some questionable decisions.
Clemson finished the game with a 30-0 run and thoroughly dominated the Crimson Tide.
Below, we tracked all the big plays and the top moments that people will be talking about on Tuesday.
The game is taking place at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara
The location caused havoc with ticket sales leading up to the game thanks, in part, to the distance from the two schools and the cost of visiting the Bay Area.
Once again it is Alabama and Clemson. Over the last four years, there have been 11 semifinal and championship games. Ten of those were won by Alabama or Clemson. This game will make 11 out of last 12.
Lots of big-name players were on hand for the game, including Tim Tebow, Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, Derrick Henry, and Terrell Owens.
The black and gold logo is also everywhere, including the goal posts and the end zone pylons.
After Bama held Clemson to a three-and-out on their first series, Tua Tagovailo threw a pick-6 on the Tide’s third play. Clemson’s well-timed blitz and a switch on the outside led to the early 7-0 lead.
Tua shook it off quickly. Just three plays later, he hit Jerry Jeudy for a 62-yard bomb.
What is going on?! Just five plays and 90 seconds later, Travis Etienne ran it in from 17 yards out. There have been three touchdowns and the game is less than five minutes old.
A wide-open Hale Hentges made it four touchdowns in under nine minutes. Bama did miss the extra point and at this point, the game was on pace to finish 70-65.
More points! The second quarter started with a field goal by Alabama and a touchdown run by Clemson. At this point, there have been six scoring plays, and 37 points in under 19 minutes.
A second Tua interception eventually led to another Clemson touchdown and all of a sudden, the Tigers were up big, 28-16. Well, normally a 12-point lead would be big. But in this game, that could be gone by the time you get back from the bathroom.
Suddenly Alabama’s offense is struggling as another drive ends. This one was stopped on third-and-long when Tagovailoa was drilled by a blitzer. That led to a Clemson field goal and a 31-16 lead at the half.
Alabama opened the second half with a time-consuming, 13-play drive. But when they were held to a 4th-and-6, somebody called a fake field goal and the third-string quarterback, Mac Jones, was stopped well short of the first down.
And 3 plays later, it was 37-16 and starting to feel like a rout.
It’s not clear what Alabama saw, but it looked like Clemson was just in a normal defense, as if they were expecting a fake.
Bama fans were not happy.
Alabama turned the ball over on downs again. Since scoring on three straight possessions in the first half, the Tide’s last four possessions have ended in an interception, a punt, a horrible fake field goal, and a turnover on downs.
Clemson may have put the game away at the end of the third period with a long touchdown drive. The star of the drive was 19-year-old true freshman receiver Justyn Ross who made a pair of circus catches. It is suddenly 44-16.
30 straight points for Clemson!
If the game wasn’t over already, it sure felt like it on the ensuing drive when Clemson stopped Alabama on downs (again). After stopping a couple of runs at the one-yard line, Clemson dropped Tagovailoa for a 6-yard loss on his fourth-down run attempt.
With 11 minutes to go, it was Jalen Hurts’ turn to come off the bench and try to spark the offense.
In the end, there were tears from Christian Wilkins.
Not bad for a team that switched to true freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence mid-way through the season.
The first 15-0 team in FBS history.
Alabama Crimson Tide