Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson just watched Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts run for a 30-yard touchdown with 2:07 remaining to put the Crimson Tide on top 31-28 as it appeared Alabama might deliver Clemson another heartbreaking loss in a national championship game.
Watson wasn’t upset as Hurts crossed the goal line, in fact he was the opposite.
“I just smiled right when they scored,” Watson said. “I (saw) the two minutes and one second on the clock, and I just smiled, and I just knew.”
What Watson and the rest of Clemson’s offense knew was that the Tigers still had time to score, even against the best defense in college football.
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“They left too much time for us,” star receiver Mike Williams said. “We’ve been putting together two-minute drives the whole season.”
Clemson’s top two offensive players were right.
Watson calmly drove Clemson 68 yards in nine plays before connecting with Hunter Renfrow for the game winner, a 2-yard touchdown pass to the right corner of the end zone.
Watson rolled right and found Renfrow wide open after Artavis Scott did a nice job of getting in the way of Renfrow’s man.
The play, named crush, was called by co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Scott was adamant the play would work.
WHO’S THE FRAUD?
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney called out Colin Cowherd of Fox Sports for his comments prior to the start of the College Football Playoff stating the Tigers were a fraud and would be exposed.
Swinney said after the game it is Cowherd who’s a fraud.
“I don’t know him, never met him. Ask Alabama if we’re a fraud. Ask Ohio State if we’re a fraud. Ask Oklahoma if we’re a fraud,” Swinney said. “The only fraud is that guy, because he didn’t do his homework. I hope y’all print that.”
WATSON MOVING ON
Watson announced after the game that he’ll enter the NFL Draft.
The Georgia native passed for 420 yards and had four total touchdowns in his final college game, a win over Alabama for the national title.
“I think it’s my time to go, just kind of end it with a bang,” Watson said. “I’ve enjoyed the three years, and I just wanted to sign my name and end it with an exclamation point, and I think I did that. Moments like this I’ll never forget.”
BO GOES OUT
Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough ran wild early against Clemson, rushing 12 times for 76 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
Scarbrough had touchdown runs of 25 and 37 yards to help Alabama to a 14-0 lead with 10:42 remaining in the second quarter.
“The first one we didn’t get outside and contain it, second one they did a nice job on the stretch play,” Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said at halftime.
Scarbrough finished the regular season with five rushing touchdowns before rushing for two against Florida in the SEC Championship, two against Washington in the College Football Playoff semifinal and two in the first half against the Tigers.
Clemson did slow down Scarbrough late in the second quarter. His final four carries of the first half went for five yards.
Scarbrough was injured during the third quarter and didn’t return. He rushed for 93 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.
MUSE MAKES A PLAY
Clemson freshman safety Tanner Muse partially blocked a punt in the first half, giving the Tigers good field position at their own 37 after the ball traveled 25 yards.
Other than the blocked punt, Alabama’s JK Scott had a strong first half, averaging 47 yards per attempt – with three landing inside the 20.
BIG MOMENTS EARLY
Clemson opted to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the Alabama 41 on its first drive, but Wayne Gallman was stuffed for no gain on a toss sweep. ... Watson fumbled a low snap in the first quarter and Alabama took over in great field position at the Tigers’ 37, but was unable to capitalize as Clemson’s defense forced Alabama seven yards back and the Crimson Tide was forced to punt.