Drive Chart
CLEM
BAMA

No Text

Watson and Clemson dethrone top-ranked Tide, 35-31

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Deshaun Watson took the snap, rolled right and with one of the easiest throws he had to make all night, completed Clemson's journey to the top of college football.

A frantic fourth quarter and a championship rematch between Clemson and Alabama was decided with 1 second left on a 2-yard touchdown toss to Hunter Renfrow.

''I couldn't hear the crowd,'' Watson said. ''I just felt at peace.''

Watson and the Tigers dethroned the defending champs and became the first team to beat Nick Saban's Alabama dynasty in a national title game, taking down the top-ranked Crimson Tide 35-31 Monday night in the College Football Playoff.

A 35-year title drought for Clemson is over. The Tigers are national champions for the first time since 1981.

A year after Alabama won its fourth title under Saban with a classic 45-40 win in Arizona, Clemson (14-1) denied the Tide (14-1) an unprecedented fifth championship in eight seasons.

''That has to be one of the greatest games of all time,'' Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.

Hard to argue.

The new champions have a process of their own that includes a loquacious coach who can turn a postgame interview into a fiery sermon, a spectacular quarterback who did not need a Heisman Trophy to show he was the best player in the country and a fun-loving team that plays with a chip on its shoulder.

''There was no upset tonight,'' Swinney said. ''That's the last thing I told them when we left the locker room. I said, `When we win the game tonight I don't want to hear one word about this being an upset. The only upset is going to be if we don't win the dadgum game.'''

The lead changed hands three times in the fourth quarter, but Watson got the ball last. Playing in his final college game, the junior quarterback threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns. In two games against Alabama and the most ferocious defense in college football, Watson has thrown for 825 yards and accounted for eight touchdowns. He was sacked four times Monday night and took some cringe-inducing shots from All-Americans Jonathan Allen and Reuben Foster.

''You know, I never got the sense that he was rattled,'' Allen said about Watson.

Swinney, the native Alabaman and former Crimson Tide walk-on receiver, has built an elite program at Clemson that was missing only one thing. Now the Tigers can check that box, too.

''Eight years ago we set out to put Clemson back on top,'' Swinney said. ''We came up a little short last year, but today on top of the mountain, the Clemson flag is flying.''

After three quarters of body slams and tight defense, Tigers-Tide II ended up looking a lot like the first meeting when the teams combined for 40 points in the fourth quarter.

Watson found Mike Williams for a 4-yard touchdown a minute into the fourth quarter to make it 24-21 Alabama.

The Tigers took their first lead, 28-24, with 4:38 left in the fourth quarter when Wayne Gallman surged in from a yard out.

The Tide's offense, which had gone dormant for most of the second half, came to life with the help of a sweet call from newly promoted offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Receiver ArDarius Stewart took a backward pass from Jalen Hurts and fired a strike to O.J. Howard for 24 yards.

On the next play, Hurts broke free from a collapsing pocket and weaved through defenders for a 30-yard touchdown run to make it 31-28 with 2:07 left.

More than enough time for Watson.

''I was calm,'' Watson said. He said he thought about Vince Young's last-second touchdown for Texas that derailed the Southern California's championship run in the 2005 championship game at the Rose Bowl. He told his team: ''Let's go be great.''

Watson hooked up with Williams and Jordan Leggett, who made great catches for big gains to get to first-and-goal with 14 seconds left.

A pass interference on Alabama made it first-and-goal at the 2 with six seconds left. Time for one more play to avoid a game-tying kick and overtime. Renfrow slipped away from the defense at the goal line with the help of some traffic created by Artavis Scott - or maybe it was an illegal pick? - and was alone for an easy toss.

Alabama players thought Scott interfered with his defender, Marlon Humphrey.

''Usually, on a pick route, you're not supposed to chop somebody,'' Alabama linebacker Tim Williams said. ''You're supposed to pick them ... but it's football.''

For the former walk-on Renfrow, it was his second TD catch of the game. He had two last season against Alabama.

Alabama was 4-0 in national championship games under Saban. It was 106-6 in games it led at half and 96-0 when entering the fourth quarter with a double-digit lead as the Tide did Monday night. Clemson overcame all those odds.

The Tide jumped out to a 14-0 lead behind two long touchdown runs by Bo Scarbrough in the first half. The 230-pound sophomore back was pretty much Alabama's whole offense for a while, running for 93 yards on 16 carries while Hurts and the passing game struggle. Scarbrough left in the third quarter with a leg injury, but the Tide finally found some other help. Hurts hooked up with O.J. Howard, one of last year's heroes for `Bama, for a 68-yard touchdown pass to make it 24-14 late in the third quarter.

''Look, there's not one play in the game that makes a difference in a game,'' Saban said. ''We could have done a lot of things a lot better.''

When it ended, Clemson's 315-pound defensive lineman Christian Wilkins did a split and a cartwheel and Ben Boulware, one of the toughest linebackers in the country, was in tears.

The Tigers had snapped Alabama's 26-game winning streak and beaten a No. 1 team for the first time ever.

''It's been 35 long years!'' Boulware screamed. ''It's coming home baby! It's coming home!''

Last season Alabama met its match in Clemson, but prevailed. This time, Clemson made sure the sequel had a different ending.

---

Follow Ralph D. Russo at wwww.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP

---

More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.

Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 0:01
92-G.Huegel extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
35
31
Touchdown 0:01
4-D.Watson complete to 13-H.Renfrow. 13-H.Renfrow runs 2 yards for a touchdown.
10
plays
75
yds
02:00
pos
34
31
Point After TD 2:07
99-A.Griffith extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
28
31
Touchdown 2:07
2-J.Hurts scrambles runs 30 yards for a touchdown.
6
plays
68
yds
02:31
pos
28
30
Point After TD 4:38
92-G.Huegel extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
28
24
Touchdown 4:38
9-W.Gallman runs 1 yard for a touchdown. Penalty on BAMA 28-A.Averett Offside declined.
7
plays
103
yds
01:55
pos
27
24
Point After TD 14:00
92-G.Huegel extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
21
24
Touchdown 14:00
4-D.Watson complete to 7-M.Williams. 7-M.Williams runs 4 yards for a touchdown.
3
plays
8
yds
01:00
pos
20
24
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 1:53
99-A.Griffith extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
14
24
Touchdown 1:53
2-J.Hurts complete to 88-O.Howard. 88-O.Howard runs 68 yards for a touchdown.
4
plays
79
yds
01:01
pos
14
23
Point After TD 7:10
92-G.Huegel extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
14
17
Touchdown 7:10
4-D.Watson complete to 13-H.Renfrow. 13-H.Renfrow runs 24 yards for a touchdown.
4
plays
42
yds
01:03
pos
13
17
Field Goal 12:29
99-A.Griffith 27 yards Field Goal is Good.
5
plays
-44
yds
01:25
pos
7
17
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 6:09
92-G.Huegel extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
7
14
Touchdown 6:09
4-D.Watson runs 8 yards for a touchdown.
7
plays
87
yds
01:33
pos
6
14
Point After TD 10:42
99-A.Griffith extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
0
14
Touchdown 10:42
9-B.Scarbrough runs 37 yards for a touchdown.
5
plays
74
yds
01:24
pos
0
13
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 9:23
99-A.Griffith extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
0
7
Touchdown 9:23
9-B.Scarbrough runs 25 yards for a touchdown.
5
plays
79
yds
00:58
pos
0
6
Team Stats
1st Downs 31 16
Rushing 8 10
Passing 19 5
Penalty 4 1
3rd Down Conv 7-18 2-15
4th Down Conv 0-1 1-1
Total Net Yards 531 376
Total Plays 100 65
Avg Gain 5.3 5.8
Net Yards Rushing 91 221
Rush Attempts 43 33
Avg Rush Yards 2.1 6.7
Net Yards Passing 440 155
Comp. - Att. 36-57 14-32
Yards Per Pass 7.7 4.8
Sacked - Yards Lost 4-20 0-0
Penalties - Yards 3-35 9-82
Touchdowns 5 4
Rushing TDs 2 3
Passing TDs 3 1
Other 0 0
Turnovers 2 0
Fumbles - Lost 2-2 1-0
Int. Thrown 0 0
Punts - Avg 9-38.3 10-45.8
Return Yards 133 66
Punts - Returns 1-3 1-9
Kickoffs - Returns 6-130 3-57
Int. - Returns 0-0 0-0
Kicking 5/5 5/5
Extra Points 5/5 4/4
Field Goals 0/0 1/1
Safeties 0 0
1234T
2 Clemson 14-1 0772135
1 Alabama 14-1 7710731
440 PASS YDS 155
91 RUSH YDS 221
531 TOTAL YDS 376
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
D. Watson 4 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
64.3% 420 3 0 145.0
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
66.8% 5013 44 17 150.6
D. Watson 36/56 420 3 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
W. Gallman 9 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
18 46 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
18 46 1
W. Gallman 18 46 1 12
D. Watson 4 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
22 43 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
187 672 10
D. Watson 22 43 1 15
C. Fuller 27 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 3 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
48 214 0
C. Fuller 1 3 0 3
A. Scott 3 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 0 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
7 11 0
A. Scott 1 0 0 0
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
J. Leggett 16 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
7 95 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
7 95 0
J. Leggett 7 95 0 26
D. Cain 8 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
5 94 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
38 724 9
D. Cain 5 94 0 43
M. Williams 7 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
8 94 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
98 1361 11
M. Williams 8 94 1 26
H. Renfrow 13 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
10 92 2
SEASON REC YDS TD
54 587 8
H. Renfrow 10 92 2 24
W. Gallman 9 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 39 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
3 39 0
W. Gallman 3 39 0 13
A. Scott 3 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 6 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
79 620 5
A. Scott 3 6 0 9
R. McCloud 34 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
49 472 2
R. McCloud 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT
K. Joseph 34 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
6-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-0 1 0.0
K. Joseph 6-0 0.0 0
C. Watkins 94 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
6-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-0 0 0.0
C. Watkins 6-0 0.0 0
B. Boulware 10 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
B. Boulware 5-1 0.0 0
C. Tankersley 25 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-0 0 0.0
C. Tankersley 5-0 0.0 0
D. Lawrence 90 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
D. Lawrence 4-0 0.0 0
J. Johnson 18 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
J. Johnson 3-1 0.0 0
D. O'Daniel 6 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
D. O'Daniel 3-0 0.0 0
V. Smith 23 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 2 0.0
V. Smith 2-1 0.0 0
K. Cote 32 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
K. Cote 1-0 0.0 0
M. Fields 2 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 1 0.0
M. Fields 1-0 0.0 0
M. Edmond 29 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
M. Edmond 1-0 0.0 0
C. Ferrell 99 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
C. Ferrell 1-0 0.0 0
R. Carter 31 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
R. Carter 1-0 0.0 0
T. Muse 19 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 1 0.0
T. Muse 1-0 0.0 0
A. Bryant 91 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
A. Bryant 1-0 0.0 0
S. Pagano 56 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
S. Pagano 0-1 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
G. Huegel 92 K
IN-GAME FG XP
0/0 5/5
SEASON FG XP
14/19 76/78
G. Huegel 0/0 0 5/5 5
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
A. Teasdall 32 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
8 38.4 1
SEASON NO AVG IN20
8 38.4 1
A. Teasdall 8 38.4 1 47
D. Watson 4 QB
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
1 38.0 1
SEASON NO AVG IN20
2 38.0 1
D. Watson 1 38.0 1 38
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
C. Fuller 27 RB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
3 17.7 25 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
6 17.7 25 0
C. Fuller 3 17.7 25 0
A. Scott 3 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
3 25.7 34 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
26 23.5 34 0
A. Scott 3 25.7 34 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
A. Scott 3 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 3.0 3 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
10 6.2 3 0
A. Scott 1 3.0 3 0
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
J. Hurts 2 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
41.9% 131 1 0 88.1
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
61.3% 2911 24 9 135.3
J. Hurts 13/31 131 1 0
A. Stewart 13 WR
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
100% 24 0 0 301.6
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
100% 60 0 0 268.0
A. Stewart 1/1 24 0 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
B. Scarbrough 9 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
16 93 2
SEASON ATT YDS TD
141 905 13
B. Scarbrough 16 93 2 37
J. Hurts 2 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
9 63 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
200 1017 14
J. Hurts 9 63 1 30
A. Stewart 13 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 25 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
9 93 0
A. Stewart 1 25 0 25
D. Harris 34 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
5 24 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
5 24 0
D. Harris 5 24 0 13
J. Jacobs 25 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 16 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
2 16 0
J. Jacobs 2 16 0 13
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
O. Howard 88 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 106 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
49 701 4
O. Howard 4 106 1 68
C. Ridley 3 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
5 36 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
72 769 7
C. Ridley 5 36 0 15
A. Stewart 13 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 12 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
56 876 8
A. Stewart 2 12 0 15
B. Scarbrough 9 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 7 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
6 29 0
B. Scarbrough 2 7 0 7
G. Dieter 11 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
15 214 4
G. Dieter 0 0 0 0
D. Harris 34 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 -6 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 -6 0
D. Harris 1 -6 0 -6
Defense T-A SACK INT
Re. Foster 10 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
12-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
12-1 0 1.0
Re. Foster 12-1 1.0 0
R. Harrison 15 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
9-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
9-1 0 0.0
R. Harrison 9-1 0.0 0
R. Evans 32 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-4 0 0.5
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-4 0 0.5
R. Evans 7-4 0.5 0
R. Anderson 22 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
6-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-1 1 1.0
R. Anderson 6-1 1.0 0
A. Averett 28 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
A. Averett 5-1 0.0 0
J. Allen 93 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-3 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-3 0 1.0
J. Allen 4-3 1.0 0
M. Humphrey 26 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 2 0.0
M. Humphrey 4-0 0.0 0
D. Tomlinson 54 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
D. Tomlinson 4-0 0.0 0
T. Brown 2 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-2 0 0.0
T. Brown 3-2 0.0 0
M. Fitzpatrick 29 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
M. Fitzpatrick 3-0 0.0 0
D. Payne 94 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-2 0 0.5
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-2 0 0.5
D. Payne 3-2 0.5 0
T. Williams 56 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
T. Williams 2-0 0.0 0
D. Hand 9 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
D. Hand 0-1 0.0 0
A. Jennings 33 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
A. Jennings 0-1 0.0 0
J. Frazier 69 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
J. Frazier 0-1 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
A. Griffith 99 K
IN-GAME FG XP
1/1 4/4
SEASON FG XP
22/29 70/71
A. Griffith 1/1 27 4/4 7
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
J. Scott 15 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
10 45.8 5
SEASON NO AVG IN20
74 47.0 5
J. Scott 10 45.8 5 57
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
A. Stewart 13 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 21.0 30 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
10 20.3 30 0
A. Stewart 2 21.0 30 0
H. Hentges 84 TE
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 15.0 15 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
1 15.0 15 0
H. Hentges 1 15.0 15 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
G. Dieter 11 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 9.0 9 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
1 9.0 9 0
G. Dieter 1 9.0 9 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:24 CLEM 22 2:57 7 37
9:15 CLEM 29 2:42 6 20 Punt
2:30 CLEM 37 0:32 3 0
1:07 CLEM 1 0:46 3 9
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 CLEM 10 2:43 6 17 Punt
10:35 CLEM 22 1:06 3 9 Punt
7:42 CLEM 13 1:33 7 87 TD
4:24 CLEM 20 1:46 5 18 Punt
1:04 CLEM 5 0:34 7 21 Punt
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:53 CLEM 27 0:50 4 1
12:22 CLEM 16 2:59 7 41 Punt
8:13 BAMA 42 1:03 4 42 TD
6:00 CLEM 16 2:55 5 23 Punt
1:47 CLEM 28 1:38 7 49
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 BAMA 8 1:00 3 8 TD
12:14 CLEM 20 1:33 3 1 Punt
9:00 CLEM 22 1:17 6 10 Punt
6:33 CLEM 12 1:55 7 88 TD
2:01 CLEM 32 2:00 10 68 TD
0:01 CLEM 46 0:00 1 -1
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:55 BAMA 24 1:20 3 2 Punt
10:21 BAMA 41 0:58 5 59 TD
6:26 BAMA 16 3:40 10 22
1:50 CLEM 35 0:34 4 -2 Punt
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
12:06 BAMA 26 1:24 5 74 TD
9:22 BAMA 35 1:32 5 12 Punt
6:03 BAMA 37 1:31 5 19 Punt
2:28 BAMA 38 1:16 3 0 Punt
0:19 BAMA 34 0:00 1 -3
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:54 CLEM 16 1:25 5 12 FG
9:14 BAMA 5 0:54 3 7 Punt
7:03 BAMA 32 0:56 3 0 Punt
2:54 BAMA 21 1:01 4 79 TD
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:00 BAMA 31 1:38 4 18 Punt
10:30 BAMA 40 1:22 3 6 Punt
7:36 BAMA 29 0:49 3 3 Punt
4:38 BAMA 32 2:31 6 68 TD