Tigers “Roll Tide”

By Dylan Bosse, Maxwell Elam and Parker Gainsburg
JAN 19, 2017

History would be made no matter what the outcome. If Alabama Crimson Tide was victorious, Coach Nick Saban would win a sixth National Championship, tying with the great Bear Bryant. If the Clemson Tigers won, they would win their first National Championship since 1981. Coming into the game 14-0 and on a 26-game winning streak, the Tide was playing for back to back Championship wins. The Tigers headed in 13-1 and were looking for revenge after last year’s loss in the Championship to Alabama 45-40. During the week preceding the big game, fans generated a lot of hype around the city of Tampa and Raymond James Stadium. The key matchup, for many, was the Clemson offense against the number one defense, Alabama.

 

Bo Scarbrough breaking a tackle

Bo Scarbrough
breaking a tackle

After a slow start to the game for both teams, Alabama struck first with a 25 yard touchdown run in the first quarter, followed by a 37-yard touchdown in the second, both by Bo Scarbrough. Needing a touchdown after falling behind 14-0, Heisman finalist Deshaun Watson was able to tip-toe down the sideline for an eight yard touchdown run to cut the lead to seven at halftime.

 

Deshaun Watson tip-toes for touchdown.

Deshaun Watson
tip-toes for touchdown.

After a 27-yard field goal by the Tide to start the second half, Clemson, once again, was able to answer with Watson’s 24-yard strike to Hunter “Big Show” Renfrow. Minutes passed before the offenses started to explode. The shootout started when Alabama’s true freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts hit a wide open O.J. Howard for an explosive 68-yard touchdown catch to end the third quarter. The Tigers did not show any sign of giving up as they scored back-to-back touchdowns to take their first lead of the game, 28-24. With only two minutes remaining, Jalen Hurts scrambled for a 30-yard touchdown run to grab the lead back, 31-28. Clemson faced a very difficult task at hand. They had to drive the length of the field against the nation’s number one defense. After putting together a nice-looking drive, Clemson was at the two yard line when Deshaun Watson hit a wide open Hunter Renfrow for a two-yard touchdown pass with one second remaining to make the score 35-31. Clemson, despite being labeled the underdog, was able to beat the undefeated Bama and win their second ever National Championship.

All photos: Jamie Squire / www.squirephoto.com