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CLEM
BAMA

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Orange Crush: Clemson topples No. 1 'Bama for national title

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Dabo Swinney kissed the championship trophy and proclaimed this Clemson team the greatest of all time.

He's got a case.

With stunning ease - and a freshman quarterback - Clemson toppled college football's greatest dynasty again to become the first perfect playoff champion.

Trevor Lawrence passed for 347 yards and three touchdowns and the second-ranked Tigers beat No. 1 Alabama 44-16 on Monday night in the College Football Playoff national championship game.

In the fourth consecutive playoff meeting between the Tigers and Tide, Clemson evened the series and beat `Bama for the national championship for the second time in three years. Clemson is the first college football team to finish 15-0 since the 1800s, and the first team since the playoff started five seasons ago to get through a season unscathed.

''I mean, our guys had the eye of the tiger, but I'm so proud, and then for our seniors to be able to go out 15-0 and truly be the best ever - there was a lot of talk about best ever all year long,'' Swinney said, talking about Alabama. ''We were never in that conversation. But tonight, there's no doubt. First 15-0 team, to beat Notre Dame and to beat Alabama to do it, this team won 13 games by 20 points or more and led by an unbelievable group of seniors, amazing group. I'm just thankful to be a part of it.''

Alabama coach Nick Saban and the Tide (14-1) were looking for a sixth national championship in 10 years, trying to add to an already unprecedented run in the sport. Instead, Clemson crushed Alabama, becoming the first opponent to beat the Tide by more than 14 points since Saban became coach in 2007.

Swinney's Tigers sealed their status as a superpower, no longer just 1A to Alabama's 1.

''We're 15-0, we beat the best team ever, nobody's taking that away from us,'' Clemson All-American defensive tackle Christian Wilkins said.

Two seasons ago it was Deshaun Watson dethroning the Tide with a last-second touchdown pass. Clemson's new star quarterback didn't need the late-game heroics. The long-haired Lawrence cut though Alabama's defense with the help of another fabulous freshman. Justyn Ross made a juggling grab, a one-handed snare and broke a 74-yard touchdown about midway through the third quarter that made it 37-16 and had Swinney high-stepping down the sidelines.

Ross, who scored two touchdowns in the semifinal rout of Notre Dame, had six catches for 153 yards against his home-state team.

Swinney takes a different approach than Saban, running a more fun-loving program than Alabama's all-business organization. But the results have been every bit as good. And on Monday night at Levi's Stadium, in a championship game played more than 2,000 miles away from Clemson's South Carolina campus, the Tigers were way too much for an Alabama team that had spent the season mauling its opposition. The Tide won their first 14 games by an average of 31 points.

Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa threw two crucial interceptions in the first half, the first returned 44 yards for a touchdown by A.J. Terrell to put Clemson up 7-0. The Tide came in scoring 48 points per game, but was shut out over the final 44 minutes by an opportunistic Clemson defense.

Saban lamented numerous mistakes: blown coverages on third down (Clemson was 10 for 15), stall outs in the red zone and special teams mishaps, including a fake field goal that flopped on the first possession of the second half.

He laid the blame on himself. The Alabama program has set a championship-or-bust standard under Saban, but he didn't want this season looked at as a failure.

''One game doesn't define who you are,'' Saban said. "But I also told the players that sometimes we learn more when things don't go well, when we lose.''

Tagovailoa, the sophomore who came off the bench to win the championship game last year for the Tide, went 22 for 34 for 295 yards and two touchdowns.

''We had a great season, but five words: Good is not good enough,'' Tagovailoa said. ''We didn't finish the way we wanted to finish. We didn't do the things we needed to do to execute and be successful in this game, and that's all it is.''

The Heisman runner-up was also the second-best quarterback on the field in the championship game. Lawrence finished 20 for 32, and went 18 for 25 for 277 yards over the final three quarters.

The teenager who took over as the starter four games into the season raised the Tigers' play, giving them an explosive offense to match a suffocating defense, led by All-American linemen Clelin Ferrell and Wilkins.

''Just these seniors, just taking me in, and they kind of dragged me along until I got my feet under me, and they just - they're awesome people as well as players,'' said Lawrence, the first freshman starting quarterback to lead his team to a national title since Oklahoma's Jamelle Holieway in 1985.

Clemson hit Alabama with a 31-point first half, capitalizing on the Tide's mistakes and unleashing Lawrence's rocket arm.

Tagovailoa threw a second interception in the second quarter, this time into triple coverage, and Trayvon Mullen's 46-yard return put Clemson in Alabama territory. That led to Travis Etienne's third touchdown of the half, a 5-yard shovel pass from Lawrence.

With a chance to stamp itself as the best team in Saban's remarkable 12 seasons at Alabama, the Crimson Tide played maybe the worst half of the coach's tenure. The 15-point halftime deficit was the largest the Tide has ever faced under Saban.

Alabama seemed panicked in the third quarter, running a fake field goal into a waiting Clemson defense instead of kicking from 40. Three plays later, Lawrence faced down a pass rush and slung a pass to Ross, who was alone after Alabama defensive back Saivion Smith went down with an apparent leg injury.

Ross sprinted away and the shocking rout was on.

Almost as shocking as Clemson, a program that promoted an obscure receivers coach to lead the program 10 years ago, climbing over the traditional powers to the top of college football. Clemson finished No. 1 in the AP poll for the third time.

''Our goal is not to win a national championship. People don't believe that. Our goal is to win the closer right there. The national championship is just a byproduct of that. It's never been my goal,'' said Swinney, who now has as many titles as Hall of Famers Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno. ''I don't measure teams by that, and I know we've got some rabid people that that drives them crazy, but I measure our team based on did we get better, did we reach our potential.''

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---

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 0:21
92-G.Huegel extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
44
16
Touchdown 0:21
16-T.Lawrence complete to 5-T.Higgins. 5-T.Higgins runs 5 yards for a touchdown.
14
plays
62
yds
05:29
pos
43
16
Missed Point After Touchdown 8:26
92-G.Huegel extra point is no good.
plays
yds
pos
37
16
Touchdown 8:40
16-T.Lawrence complete to 8-J.Ross. 8-J.Ross runs 74 yards for a touchdown.
3
plays
76
yds
01:13
pos
37
16
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 0:53
92-G.Huegel 36 yards Field Goal is Good.
9
plays
51
yds
01:17
pos
31
16
Point After TD 4:38
92-G.Huegel extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
28
16
Touchdown 4:42
16-T.Lawrence complete to 9-T.Etienne. 9-T.Etienne runs 5 yards for a touchdown.
8
plays
47
yds
03:36
pos
27
16
Point After TD 11:38
92-G.Huegel extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
21
16
Touchdown 11:42
9-T.Etienne runs 1 yard for a touchdown.
8
plays
80
yds
02:40
pos
20
16
Field Goal 15:00
97-J.Bulovas 25 yards Field Goal is Good.
11
plays
50
yds
04:54
pos
14
16
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Missed Point After Touchdown 6:23
97-J.Bulovas extra point is no good.
plays
yds
pos
14
13
Touchdown 6:28
13-T.Tagovailoa complete to 84-H.Hentges. 84-H.Hentges runs 1 yard for a touchdown.
12
plays
72
yds
04:07
pos
14
13
Point After TD 10:35
92-G.Huegel extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
14
7
Touchdown 10:43
9-T.Etienne runs 17 yards for a touchdown.
6
plays
77
yds
01:22
pos
13
7
Point After TD 12:05
97-J.Bulovas extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
7
7
Touchdown 12:15
13-T.Tagovailoa complete to 4-J.Jeudy. 4-J.Jeudy runs 62 yards for a touchdown.
4
plays
65
yds
01:05
pos
7
6
Point After TD 13:20
92-G.Huegel extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
7
0
Touchdown 13:30
13-T.Tagovailoa incomplete. Intended for 4-J.Jeudy INTERCEPTED by 8-A.Terrell at BAMA 44. 8-A.Terrell runs 44 yards for a touchdown.
1
plays
44
yds
0:00
pos
6
0
Team Stats
1st Downs 21 23
Rushing 7 12
Passing 12 11
Penalty 2 0
3rd Down Conv 10-15 4-13
4th Down Conv 1-1 3-6
Total Net Yards 482 430
Total Plays 63 73
Avg Gain 7.7 5.9
Net Yards Rushing 135 148
Rush Attempts 31 37
Avg Rush Yards 4.4 4.0
Net Yards Passing 347 282
Comp. - Att. 20-32 22-36
Yards Per Pass 10.8 7.8
Sacked - Yards Lost 0-0 2-13
Penalties - Yards 1-12 6-60
Touchdowns 6 2
Rushing TDs 2 0
Passing TDs 3 2
Other 1 0
Turnovers 0 2
Fumbles - Lost 0-0 2-0
Int. Thrown 0 2
Punts - Avg 3-44.3 2-50.0
Return Yards 90 37
Punts - Returns 0-0 1-7
Kickoffs - Returns 0-0 1-30
Int. - Returns 2-90 0-0
Kicking 6/7 2/3
Extra Points 5/6 1/2
Field Goals 1/1 1/1
Safeties 0 0
1234T
2 Clemson 15-0 141713044
1 Alabama 14-1 1330016
347 PASS YDS 282
135 RUSH YDS 148
482 TOTAL YDS 430
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
T. Lawrence 16 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
62.5% 347 3 0 184.5
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
65.2% 3280 30 4 157.6
T. Lawrence 20/32 347 3 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
T. Etienne 9 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
14 86 2
SEASON ATT YDS TD
204 1658 24
T. Etienne 14 86 2 38
T. Lawrence 16 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
6 27 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
60 177 1
T. Lawrence 6 27 0 12
A. Choice 26 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
7 12 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
77 548 7
A. Choice 7 12 0 7
T. Feaster 28 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
3 11 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
78 440 6
T. Feaster 3 11 0 4
C. Brice 7 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 -1 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
16 93 0
C. Brice 1 -1 0 -1
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
J. Ross 8 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
6 153 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
46 1000 9
J. Ross 6 153 1 74
T. Higgins 5 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 81 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
59 936 12
T. Higgins 3 81 1 62
A. Rodgers 3 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 30 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
55 575 4
A. Rodgers 2 30 0 26
T. Feaster 28 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 29 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
11 71 0
T. Feaster 2 29 0 26
T. Thompson 1 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 27 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
21 189 1
T. Thompson 2 27 0 19
D. Overton 14 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 12 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
14 199 3
D. Overton 1 12 0 12
H. Renfrow 13 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 10 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
49 544 1
H. Renfrow 2 10 0 5
T. Etienne 9 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 5 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
12 78 2
T. Etienne 1 5 1 5
A. Choice 26 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 3 0
A. Choice 0 0 0 0
D. Kendrick 10 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
15 210 0
D. Kendrick 0 0 0 0
T. Chase 18 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
13 101 2
T. Chase 1 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT
I. Simmons 11 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
8-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
8-1 1 0.0
I. Simmons 8-1 0.0 0
A. Terrell 8 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-1 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-1 3 0.0
A. Terrell 7-1 0.0 1
T. Mullen 1 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
6-0 1 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-0 1 1.0
T. Mullen 6-0 1.0 1
T. Lamar 57 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-1 1 0.0
T. Lamar 5-1 0.0 0
K. Wallace 12 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-0 1 0.0
K. Wallace 5-0 0.0 0
A. Huggins 67 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
A. Huggins 4-1 0.0 0
A. Bryant 7 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
A. Bryant 3-1 0.0 0
C. Wilkins 42 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.5
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.5
C. Wilkins 3-1 0.5 0
T. Muse 19 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 2 0.0
T. Muse 2-1 0.0 0
N. Pinckney 44 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
N. Pinckney 2-0 0.0 0
N. Turner 24 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-2 1 0.0
N. Turner 2-2 0.0 0
J. Skalski 47 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
J. Skalski 2-0 0.0 0
X. Thomas 3 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.5
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.5
X. Thomas 2-1 0.5 0
K. Joseph 34 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
K. Joseph 1-2 0.0 0
C. Ferrell 99 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
C. Ferrell 1-2 0.0 0
Ju. Davis 36 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
Ju. Davis 1-0 0.0 0
JD. Davis 33 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 1 0.0
JD. Davis 1-0 0.0 0
T. Walliser 89 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
T. Walliser 1-0 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
G. Huegel 92 K
IN-GAME FG XP
1/1 5/6
SEASON FG XP
11/16 76/78
G. Huegel 1/1 36 5/6 8
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
W. Spiers 48 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
3 44.3 0
SEASON NO AVG IN20
64 39.7 0
W. Spiers 3 44.3 0 51
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
T. Tagovailoa 13 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
64.7% 295 2 2 145.2
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
69% 3966 43 6 199.4
T. Tagovailoa 22/34 295 2 2
J. Hurts 2 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
0% 0 0 0 0.0
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
72.9% 765 8 2 196.7
J. Hurts 0/2 0 0 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
N. Harris 22 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
9 59 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
117 783 4
N. Harris 9 59 0 13
D. Harris 34 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
11 57 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
150 876 9
D. Harris 11 57 0 15
J. Jacobs 8 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
11 47 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
120 640 11
J. Jacobs 11 47 0 11
M. Jones 10 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 -2 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
3 -8 0
M. Jones 1 -2 0 -2
J. Hurts 2 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 -4 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
36 167 2
J. Hurts 1 -4 0 -4
T. Tagovailoa 13 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 -9 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
57 190 5
T. Tagovailoa 4 -9 0 6
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
J. Jeudy 4 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
5 139 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
68 1315 14
J. Jeudy 5 139 1 62
D. Smith 6 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
6 65 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
42 693 6
D. Smith 6 65 0 23
I. Smith Jr. 82 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 43 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
44 710 7
I. Smith Jr. 4 43 0 21
J. Waddle 17 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 25 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 25 0
J. Waddle 2 25 0 19
J. Jacobs 8 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 16 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
20 247 3
J. Jacobs 1 16 0 16
D. Harris 34 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 3 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
22 204 0
D. Harris 2 3 0 7
H. Ruggs III 11 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 3 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
46 741 11
H. Ruggs III 1 3 0 3
H. Hentges 84 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 1 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
4 34 3
H. Hentges 1 1 1 1
Defense T-A SACK INT
X. McKinney 15 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-0 2 0.0
X. McKinney 7-0 0.0 0
I. Buggs 49 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
I. Buggs 5-1 0.0 0
M. Wilson 30 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-2 2 0.0
M. Wilson 4-2 0.0 0
D. Moses 32 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
D. Moses 4-0 0.0 0
A. Jennings 33 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 1 0.0
A. Jennings 4-0 0.0 0
R. Davis 99 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
R. Davis 3-0 0.0 0
Q. Williams 92 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
Q. Williams 3-1 0.0 0
S. Smith 4 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 3 0.0
S. Smith 2-0 0.0 0
S. Carter 5 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 2 0.0
S. Carter 2-0 0.0 0
D. Thompson 14 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 2 0.0
D. Thompson 2-1 0.0 0
J. Jobe 28 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
J. Jobe 2-0 0.0 0
J. Mayden 21 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
J. Mayden 1-0 0.0 0
L. Ray 89 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
L. Ray 1-0 0.0 0
P. Surtain II 2 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 1 0.0
P. Surtain II 1-0 0.0 0
J. Mosley 16 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
J. Mosley 0-1 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
J. Bulovas 97 K
IN-GAME FG XP
1/1 1/2
SEASON FG XP
14/18 75/81
J. Bulovas 1/1 25 1/2 4
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
M. Bernier 98 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
2 50.0 1
SEASON NO AVG IN20
25 38.0 1
M. Bernier 2 50.0 1 55
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
J. Jacobs 8 RB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 30.0 30 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
14 30.6 30 1
J. Jacobs 1 30.0 30 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
J. Waddle 17 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 7.0 7 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
1 7.0 7 0
J. Waddle 1 7.0 7 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 BAMA 35 0:28 4 -7 Punt
12:05 BAMA 35 1:22 6 75 TD
6:23 BAMA 35 0:44 4 -14 Punt
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:22 BAMA 35 2:40 8 65 TD
8:18 BAMA 47 3:36 8 47 TD
2:10 CLEM 21 1:17 9 61 FG
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
9:53 CLEM 24 1:13 3 76 TD
5:50 CLEM 11 5:29 14 89 TD
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
12:24 CLEM 9 0:56 3 -1 Punt
10:13 CLEM 1 8:54 14 94
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:28 BAMA 21 0:32 3 77 INT
13:20 CLEM 35 1:05 4 65 TD
10:35 CLEM 35 4:07 12 75 TD
5:34 BAMA 48 4:54 11 45 FG
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
11:38 CLEM 35 2:48 8 18 INT
4:38 CLEM 35 2:14 6 -1 Punt
0:50 CLEM 35 0:05 3 -4 Halftime
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
0:39 CLEM 35 0:00 15 53 Downs
8:26 CLEM 35 2:32 9 54 Downs
0:21 CLEM 50 0:09 10 41 Downs
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
11:23 BAMA 48 1:02 3 -4 Punt