From CSJ Reports —
The College Football Playoff once again lived up to the hype. In a rematch from last year’s championship game, #2-ranked Clemson upset #1-ranked Alabama in a thrilling game that literally went down to the wire.
With one second remaining on the clock, quarterback Deshaun Watson threw a two-yard touchdown pass to reserve receiver Hunter Renfrow for the victory, 35-31.
“I’m speechless right now. It’s what God wants,” Watson told ESPN after the game. “Just keep believing in God, keep believing in my teammates, and this is what happens.”
Watson struggled in the first half and Alabama’s defense mostly contained the Tigers high flying offense en route to a 14-7 lead. But in the second half, the junior play caller (who plans to enter the NFL Draft this spring) regained his form and finished the game with 420 passing yards and three touchdowns along with 43 rushing yards and another touchdown on the ground.
“It’s indescribable,” head coach Dabo Swinney told ESPN after the game. “You can’t make it up. Only God can do this, take a guy like me from Pellum, Alabama, and give him a chance to win a national championship.”
For Clemson, it was the program’s second national title and first since 1981. The loss leaves Alabama head coach Nick Saban one win short from tying legendary Crimson Tide coach Bear Bryant for most in that school’s history.
A day earlier, Swinney joined Watson at Idlewild Baptist Church in Tampa where Watson received the 2016 FCA Bobby Bowden Award.
“Deshaun Watson fits the criteria of Bobby Bowden Award in every way,” Swinney told the audience. “His accomplishments on the field as the quarterback of our football team, leading us to the National Championship game in consecutive seasons, and in the classroom as a graduate in just three years, have been exemplary. He has been the model student-athlete and all that is right with college football.”
(Photos: Clemson Athletic Department; Atlanta Falcons)