That put the Tigers up for the first time, but prepared no one for one of the best finishes in the history of the national championship game in all its various iterations. They survived 19-13 against Auburn, lost at home to Pittsburgh and scored just 24 points in an overtime win against NC State. Led by Alabama's running back Bo Scarbrough's two TD's, the score at the half was 14-7.
The winning team didn't take its first lead until barely 4 1/2 minutes remained but couldn't hold it.
His performances in the two national championship games against Alabama are the stuff of legends. Clemson waited 35 long years. Know how many incompletions Deshaun Watson threw?
An Alabama onside kick early in the fourth quarter changed the tone, allowing the Tide to then take the lead for good at 31-24.
This time, he closed the deal.
Kiffin's playcalling kept Washington in the game, and the Tide didn't pull away from the Huskies until they consistently ran Scarbrough in the second half. However, I can't help but feel if someone was going to beat this Alabama team, it would've been last year's Clemson team.
Put the offense, defense, and hidden yardage together, and you get another Alabama title on Monday night.
After he was done reflecting on the Dolphins' season, defensive end Andre Branch was asked about the big football game on tap for Monday night: the college football national championship game. The Tide had nine plays on their first touchdown drive, and eight of them were running plays. He refused to lose. With this win, Saban would tie Alabama coaching legend Bear Bryant for the most national titles of any coach.
Clemson took its first lead when Watson found Mike Williams for a 4-yard touchdown a minute into the fourth quarter to make it 24-21.
Clemson Dethrones Alabama And Wins National Championship With Last-Second Touchdown
This mightn't have been the greatest game ever played - though it's probably in the top five - but it might be the most popular.
Elementary, at least to Dear Watson.
History will judge them as champions themselves, but the last chapter will say they came up one play short and one second shy. "I told the guys, 'Let's go be legendary".
The others are BYU in 1996, Kansas State in 2003, Ohio State and OR in 2014 and Alabama and Clemson last season.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson, Clemson's two-time Heisman candidate, capped an 87-yard drive with an 8-yard run for the Tigers' first touchdown.
It was a Clemson kind of story. The signs mentioned the town where their semifinal opponent, Ohio State, hails and the city where the title game was taking place. Had the Tigers not got into the end zone, they would have had to settle for a chip-shot field goal to force overtime.
Deshaun Watson stood on the victory platform, surrounded by dancing teammates, coaches, game officials and said he wanted to become a hero. He said Swinney talks about using the game to inspire people, and the coach expanded on what that means for the Tigers.
And now he's a champion.
Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill returns to limited practice today
If the Steelers open the game and quickly go down and score, psychologically it could affect the Dolphins' offensive approach. But the Miami defense gets the Steeler's triplets, ready to go, especially after the Dolphins won during the season.