TAMPA, Fla. -- The play Clemson will remember forever is called "Crush." Of course that's the name. That's so Clemson.

To knock out Alabama as champion, to erase the demons from last year's heart-breaking loss and to kill the idea once and for all that little ol' Clemson can't win it all again after one magical moment 35 years ago at the Orange Bowl, the winning touchdown had to be called "Crush."

Six seconds remained on the clock with Clemson down three points Monday night. Deshaun Watson thought of another national championship star from a decade ago at the Rose Bowl -- the last time college football ever saw a title game quite like this.

"The name that was running through my mind was Vince Young," Watson said. "I wanted to be great."

Wide receiver Artavis Scott ran a slant inside that picked off Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. Hunter Renfrow, a former walk-on, ran a fade and Watson quickly got the ball out of his hand for a touchdown that set off bedlam at Raymond James Stadium.

Clemson 35, Alabama 31. They waited 35 years for this at Clemson -- 35 years for another ex-Alabama player to put Clemson on top of college football's mountain just like Danny Ford did in 1981.

Clemson fans in the stands cried. Players danced on the podium like they were at a party. Dabo Swinney was so delirious that he couldn't stop talking with the media at midfield -- no major coach ever talks to reporters on the field after games -- so Clemson president Jim Clements had to grab Swinney and yank him to the championship podium.

"To be honest, it was like a movie script," Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said. "I told [the players] this morning, 'Hey, there's no doubt we wanted to win last year. But in a movie, the best part doesn't happen in the middle. The adversity happens in the middle, and the best part happens at the end.' Now, I didn't know the end would be with one second left."

Clemson's win boiled down to this: The Tigers had Watson and Alabama had nothing close to him. Yet in one of the most remarkable finishes you'll see in a championship game, Clemson and Alabama scored three touchdowns in the final 4:38. Alabama's struggling freshman quarterback, Jalen Hurts, rumbled for a 30-yard touchdown to give the Tide a 31-28 lead with 2:07 left.

"I looked up at the time and 2:07 left and looked to the sideline and I see No. 4 over there [Watson], and I'm like, 'We got this, we're good,'" Clemson defensive lineman Christian Wilkins said.

For three quarters, Clemson had scored only 14 points against Alabama's usually impenetrable defense. But Clemson's offense kept extending its drives, keeping it on the field longer. Alabama's defense was on the field for 99 plays compared to 66 for Clemson.

"We wanted to get to 80 plays," Scott said. "We told our guys that even though they're a very talented defense, they have less depth than last year when they rolled a lot of guys up front. We talked to our guys that four quarters is like a 10-round boxing match, and you've got to get them in the last two or three rounds to really wear them down."

So there was Watson, taking the field for the final drive and telling his teammates, "Let's go win a championship." There was this incomparable talent carving up Alabama again for the second straight year, this time to the tune of 420 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Want to re-vote the Heisman Trophy now?

"I'll say it again," Swinney said. "He didn't lose out on the Heisman; the Heisman lost out on an opportunity to be attached to this guy forever."

On the final drive, there was Mike Williams making his second ridiculous catch of the evening, this one for 24 yards. There was Renfrow picking up a third-and-3 with a 6-yard reception, one of 10 catches on a 92-yard night. There was Jordan Leggett making a tough 17-yard catch.

"I couldn't hear the crowd," Watson said. "I couldn't really -- I was just in my zone. I just felt at peace."

On the final touchdown, Jeff Scott was "adamant about the call," Swinney said of his co-offensive coordinator who once was a walk-on wide receiver at Clemson himself. Play for a tying field goal and overtime?

That's not how you knock out the champion. That's now how you Bring Your Own Guts. So, Crush it was.

"That one we kept in our back pocket," Scott said. "I tease the guys all the time because we've had a lot of big games. They've been wanting to run that play, and I said we were saving it for a big game, and we needed it tonight."

Scott, the outside wide receiver, ran a rub route to get Fitzpatrick out of the picture.

"Usually on a pick route, you aren't supposed to chop somebody, you're supposed to pick them and go at your rote, but the guy literally just chopped Minkah down," Alabama linebacker Tim Williams said. "But hey, it's football."

Said Artavis Scott: "It's clean. As soon as they called it, I knew it would be a touchdown. They play man coverage, and I knew that would be there."

Clemson's 99th play was also the 99th of the game for Renfrow, whose scholarship offers growing up in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, came from FCS schools. He never came out of the game, even though he was getting tired and receiving fluids on the sideline.

"What better way to finish than Deshaun Watson hitting Hunter Renfrow -- two ends of the spectrum," Jeff Scott said. "You've got a five-star, No. 1 quarterback in the country throwing to a guy who was a walk-on. I think that really epitomizes our program. It's an appreciation for everybody."

Crush. What a fitting name for the play.

Swinney, a former Alabama walk-on who grew up watching "The Bear Bryant Show" every Sunday as a kid, crushed Nick Saban's attempt (at least for now) to tie Bryant's six national championships.

The Tigers crushed the memories of Saban's bold onside kick and O.J. Howard running free in the 2016 championship loss. Swinney even ended Monday's game by wisely calling an onside kick with one second left that Clemson recovered.

Clemson people crushed 35 years of hope and despair blended together while often lost in the wilderness of major college football. How many times did Clemson think it was back only to have Lucy yank the ball away from Charlie Brown?

There was the unceremonious ouster of Ford because of NCAA recruiting violations. There were the lean years of Ken Hatfield and Tommy West in the 1990s. There was the resurgence but inability to get over the top with Tommy Bowden, who hired Swinney as wide receivers coach in 2003. And there were the early "Clemsoning" flops and doubts of Swinney after then-athletic director Terry Don Phillips brilliantly saw something in Swinney very few others did.

"I'm going to tell you this: Our fans deserve this," Swinney said. "Thirty-five years they've waited. ... Hopefully, before they put me out to pasture, we can do this a few more times."

Don't doubt it. By crushing through the ceiling, Clemson has the affirmation from college football it has always wanted to experience again.