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Clemson Tigers pull out upset in National Championship, beating Alabama Crimson Tide 35-31

Kim Montuoro, Contributor

In a stadium of over 70,000 people, Deshaun looks upon the roaring crowd during Clemson’s shutout of Ohio State Dec. 31. The Tigers went on to face the Alabama Crimson Tide, winning 35-31.

Thriller. Revenge. Love. Those three words often describe the premise to a blockbuster movie. Instead, it describes the best game of the 2016-17 NCAA football season; a 35-31 Clemson Tiger victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The entire first half saw the big, bad Alabama defense win the line of scrimmage and put pressure on Clemson’s Deshaun Watson. Hurried and pressured, Watson had no choice but to throw short or even throw it away. Wayne Gallman didn’t have much luck running the ball against the Tide, stopped by an impenetrable crimson bulwark.
Watson provided a glimmer of hope late in the second quarter when he threw a screen to receiver Deon Cain which he took almost fifty yards into Tide territory. That setup an eventual Watson touchdown run to cut Alabama’s lead to 14-7.
After halftime, the Clemson defense turned on the jets and stopped Alabama only to have the Clemson offense cough up a fumble. The Crimson Tide turned that into another three points and further buried the Tigers. It seemed almost over when OJ Howard slipped past Clemson defenders to haul in a wide-open 68-yard touchdown pass to increase the Alabama lead to 24-14.
But then the fourth quarter started. Mike Williams, Jordan Leggett and Hunter Renfrow all hauled in crucial catches that gave the Tigers the lead 28-24 with 4:30 left on the clock. Alabama pulled out all the stops, even resorting to a flea flicker, to yet again pull ahead by three. The score read 31-28 with just two minutes left. Never doubting a comeback, Watson and company roared back, completing 6 of 8 passes that ended with a dramatic 2-yard bootleg pass to an uncovered Hunter Renfrow which put the Tigers up 35-31 with just one second remaining.
Fun facts: – the Tigers in the National Championship
Deshaun Watson is now the quarterback with the most and the third-most total yards in a national title game. He had 473 in last year’s matchup against the Tide and finished with 463 tonight. Hunter Renfrow, a walk-on receiver, has now caught four touchdowns against Alabama (two last year, two this year) in the national championship. This is Nick Saban’s first loss in an NCAA title game. This loss also snaps a 26-game win streak for Alabama.
This is Clemson’s first win over a number one team ever.

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