College Football: Clemson tops Alabama in thrilling 35-31 finish
- Updated: January 10, 2017
The University of Alabama went into the college football National Championship game with plenty of confidence.
As they should’ve. The Crimson Tide beat the University of Clemson in the National Championship game last year, 45-40. That was Alabama’s days of having quarterback Jake Coker and running back Derrick Henry.
This year, the story unfolded a bit differently. This year, the Clemson Tigers captured the title, defeating Alabama 35-31.
It was quarterback Deshaun Watson’s second National Championship game, as he started the 2016 loss to Alabama. This year, Watson threw for 420 yards on 36/56 completed passes. The junior quarterback rushed for one touchdown and threw three touchdowns to Mike Williams and Hunter Renfrow (2). On the ground, Watson rushed for 43 yards on 21 carries.
Clemson’s running back didn’t fare much better. Wayne Gallman rushed for 46 yards on 18 carries. However, Gallman did score a touchdown.
For Alabama, Jalen Hurts, a freshman quarterback under head coach Nick Saban, threw 13/31 completed passes for 131 yards. He threw one touchdown pass to O.J. Howard, and rushed for a touchdown himself. He rushed for 63 yards on 10 carries.
Running back Bo Scarbrough rushed the ball 16 times for 93 yards, and managed to score two touchdowns. However, it wasn’t enough for the Crimson Tide, as the last connection between Renfrow and Watson won the game for Clemson.
“The difference in the game was the love we had for each other,” said head coach Dabo Swinney. “This was a blessing, and it’s surreal. Eight years ago, Terry Don Phillips gave me a chance to lead this program. We set out to put Clemson back on top. We came up short last year, but tonight the Clemson flag is flying at the top of that mountain.”
Photo of Clemson’s Deshaun Watson courtesy of Kevin C. Cox.