Clemson Takes Down Alabama 44-16 To Win Second National Football Title In Three Years

College Playoff With Clemson And Alabama Clemson University’s two true freshmen powered the Tigers to a 44-16 beating of top-ranked Alabama on Monday night in the College Football Playoffs...

College Playoff With Clemson And Alabama

Clemson University’s two true freshmen powered the Tigers to a 44-16 beating of top-ranked Alabama on Monday night in the College Football Playoffs championship game in Santa Clara, California.

Clemson, which came into the game ranked second and as a 5 ½-point underdog, finished the season 15-0 and became the first major college team to win 15 games since 1897.

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who was not the starter when the season began but ultimately unseated Kelly Bryant, passed for 347 yards and three touchdowns. The other key freshman, receiver Justyn Ross, had six catches for 153 yards and a touchdown.

Lawrence and Ross connected for a 74-yard score in the third quarter after the Crimson Tide’s fake field goal try came up short. The touchdown put Clemson ahead 37-16; Alabama never scored in the second half and had possession of the football for less than four minutes in the final quarter.

“We just got whupped,” Alabama defensive end Raekwon Davis said. “Nobody did their job. The pass rush, the run stop, it wasn’t there.”

Alabama never sacked Lawrence and he never turned the ball over. His counterpart, Tua Tagovailoa, threw two interceptions, the first being returned for a touchdown. The 28-point defeat was the worst coach Nick Saban has suffered at Alabama.

Lawrence, 19, was earning plaudits as being ready right now for the NFL. But neither he nor Ross can declare for the NFL draft for two more years. So Clemson will clearly be a threat to win another title and has been installed as the team to beat by Las Vegas odds makers. Lawrence is the first true freshman to quarterback his team to the title since Jamelle Holieway (Oklahoma) in 1985.

Alabama’s team was often touted as potentially its best ever. And Clemson coach Dabo Swinney jumped on that point in his postgame remarks, as both of the Tigers’ titles under Swinney came at Bama’s expense.
“There was a lot of talk about ‘best ever’ all year long,” Swinney said. “We were never in that conversation. But tonight, there’s no doubt.”

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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