Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander started Monday night’s National Championship game after tweaking his hamstring in the Orange Bowl, but he was unable to finish it.
Alexander reinjured his hamstring in the second quarter while attempting to make a tackle and was unable to return to the game.
He was helped to the sideline by two members of Clemson’s staff and stayed on the trainer’s table for several minutes before heading to the locker room just before the half.
The redshirt sophomore is Clemson’s best defensive back and one of the top cover corners in the country.
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When asked Saturday if he was 100 percent healthy, Alexander declined to comment. Hours before Monday’s game he told ESPN he was unsure if he would be able to play and it would be a game-time decision.
He appeared fine in pregame warmups, but his hamstring did not hold up.
CLOCK MISTAKE COSTS CLEMSON
The Tigers were threatening to take the lead just before the half, driving at Alabama’s 26-yard line, but a clock mistake cost Clemson about 5 seconds and a timeout.
After picking up a first down, Deshaun Watson rushed to the line of scrimmage to spike the ball, but the clock started before the ball was spotted and Clemson had to use a timeout.
Clemson ended up kicking a field goal on the next play, which was blocked and fell just short.
“Really, really frustrated with how the clock was handled there,” Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said. “That’s very disappointing, cost me a timeout.”
CLEMSON INVADES PHOENIX
Clemson played for its first national title in 34 years Monday night and Tigers fans came out in full force to witness the appearance.
Clemson faithful outnumbered Alabama at least 60-40 in the stands, and the Tigers’ side of the stadium was full an hour before kickoff, cheering wildly during pregame festivities.
Several former Clemson players made the trip to Phoenix as Brian Dawkins, CJ Spiller, Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins, Vic Beasley and Charlie Whitehurst were among those on the sideline before the game.
CLEMSON ‘D’ LINE COMES UP BIG
Alabama’s defensive line entered the championship game leading the nation in sacks with 50, but it was Clemson’s that came up big in the first half.
The Tigers sacks Alabama quarterback Jake Coker four times in the first two quarters, with Kevin Dodd and Shaq Lawson each recording two.
Lawson was questionable for the game with a sprained MCL, but played well despite not being 100 percent.
The Crimson Tide did not record a sack in the first half.
▪ Clemson scored two touchdowns in the first quarter after Alabama had only allowed one touchdown in the first quarter all year entering the game.
▪ Of Alabama’s 114 yards in the first quarter, 96 came on third-down plays.
▪ The Crimson Tide entered the game second in the country in total defense, allowing only 257 yards. Clemson surpassed that number midway through the third quarter.