This Monday the highly anticipated college football national championship game was played out. The game, played in Levi’s Stadium, was between the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide and the #2 Clemson Tigers. Clemson blowed Alabama out of the water, winning the game with a final of 44-16, which was a surprise to many. This marks Clemson’s second national championship in the last four years.
Clemson’s dominating performance was lead by freshman QB Trevor Lawrence, throwing for 347 yards and three touchdowns on the Alabama defense. This was an incredible showing for Lawrence, as many doubted that he would be able to dominate the game like he did. His favorite target of the night was freshman wide receiver Justyn Ross, who had 6 receptions for 153 yards and a touchdown on the night. Ross himself had a couple of brilliant receptions, including a one handed catch and a pass that he tipped to himself. Along with Ross, sophomore wide receiver Tee Higgins caught three passes for or 81 yards and a touchdown. The Clemson offense also had a good running game, with sophomore running back Travis Etienne 86 yards and two touchdowns on fourteen carries. Not only did Clemson’s playmakers play exceptionally well, but their offensive line played superbly as well. Over the entire game, they did not allow a single sack. This allowed Trevor Lawrence to throw the ball cleanly almost every time he dropped back, which hurt Alabama’s chances of stopping the Clemson offense.
Possibly more impressive than Clemson’s offense was their defensive performance. After allowing 13 points in the first quarter, the defense allowed just a field goal in the second and shut out Alabama in the second half. The defense even had a touchdown, as on Alabama’s opening drive, sophomore cornerback A.J. Terrell intercepted a pass by Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa and returned it for 44 years for a touchdown. They also intercepted another pass by Tagovailoa in the second quarter. This time, it was junior cornerback Trayvon Mullen. Along with his interception, Mullen totaled six tackles and a sack. Other standouts on the defense included safety Isaiah Simmons, who had 9 tackles including one tackle for a loss, defensive end Clelin Ferrell, and defensive tackle Christian Wilkins. Both Wilkins and Ferrell were able to cause havoc in stopping the run and rushing the passer, totaling 2.5 tackles for losses together.
For Alabama, this showing is severely disappointing. They looked completely outmatched on both sides of the ball after a solid first quarter. To start, their offense looked flat at times. This was especially the case from the second quarter on. After their field goal in the second quarter, their drives went as follows: interception, punt, end of half, turnover on downs, turnover on downs, another turnover on downs, and a punt. As a high powered offense with tons of talent, this performance was expected by nobody. Not only did many people predict that Alabama was going to win, but many predicted this would be a shootout. Turns out, only one team would show up to the shootout, as Trevor Lawrence outperformed Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa threw 295 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Not to mention, the defense did not help. Allowing 44 points is something that not many would expect from the Crimson Tide defense.
Although Alabama lost big, they did have some players perform well. While Tagovailoa’s performance might have not been on the level of Trevor Lawrence’s, hye did still throw for 295 yards, which is no easy feat. His favorite target on the night was sophomore wide receiver Jerry Jeudy. Jeudy caught five passes for 139 yards and a touchdown. Alabama also had a good running game, with running backs Najee Harris, Damien Harris, and Josh Jacobs totaling 163 yards on the ground. On the defensive side, star defensive tackle and likely first round NFL draft pick Quinnen Williams had four tackles and one and a half tackles for a loss. Also, linebacker Anfernee Jennings had four tackles, three and a half of which were for a loss. Jennings also recorded a pass deflection.
While this national championship may have not been as good as many hoped, it was an upset, which fans always like. It also pushes Clemson to the top of college football next year, as they are the favorites to win it next year. Clemson can be seen as the next dynasty as well, as most of their team are still underclassmen who can’t leave for the draft for a couple of years. But for right now, Clemson is your 2019 College Football Champions.