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Clemson Wins It All

January 10, 2017

The (14-1) Clemson University Tigers claimed their first college football title in 35 years, (ESPN’s “Around the Horn” host Tony Reali erred in saying “36 years” in relation to what was a “Clem” bid before the tilt yesterday, while the so annoying ESPN.com game highlights narrator also erred saying it had been 34 years since the last Clemson title in her “highlights narration,” after the tilt had been completed,) wish I knew her name), winning a thrilling, (35-31) title game over (I ‘ll say it was!) defending champion and top ranked, six plus point favorite Alabama, whose season also ended with a (14-1) record —11-3 vs the spread, but see what happens when I do not predict vs them—-but alas, no record breaking title for coach Nick Saban.

Instead it was Clemson, specifically their coach Dabo Swinney, a player on the 1992 Alabama title team which oddly denied a Miami of Florida team seeking a 5th title in a slightly longer period of 10 seasons, than the fifth the “Tide” (Alabama) were seeking in nine seasons (’08-‘2016) last night, that was the title game winning coach.

It was a stirring game, culminating with the game’s most valuable player, two time Heisman Trophy finalist, Deshaun Watson throwing a 2 yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow, with one second remaining.

Unfortunately for Alabama 10 point teaser bettors/idiots-remember what Beano Cook said about betting teasers, the extra point was both attempted and converted, making “Bama” plus three “plus,” a losing wager. (Remind me to tell you about when an extra point was not attempted, it is not in college pig, when time has expired,  that is not the case in the pros, yielding a very happy result for Beano, whom I miss so, these now 5 college football season conclusions without the most knowledgeable man in the field.)

Alabama led (14-0) with Bo Scarborough, later injured in the third quarter and seeing no further action, an  incredibly important factor, scoring both touchdowns. Clemson then cut Alabama leads to (14-7), (17-14) and (24-21), obviously with touchdowns, the last early in the fourth quarter.

After the teams managed but one first down apiece on the next five possessions, three of them Alabama possessions, the excitement began when Watson and the Tigers drove 88 yards for a touchdown to take the lead on Wayne Gallman’s 1 yard run, with say 4 minutes to play.

On both the go ahead and winning drives, Clemson receivers, especially Mike Williams, earlier a “touchdown maker,” and Jordan Leggett contributed mightily. Watson all but assured the first go ahead touchdown, running right for 16 yards to the “Bama” one yard line.

As great teams do, and though they beat me all season and were denied the title, I both like the “Tide” and yield to few people, in my admiration of them, Alabama responded with freshman quarterback, Jalen Hurts leading the way.

First, Hurts made a great across his body completion to ArDarius Stewart on a 3rd and 16 to set up a successful 4th and 2 conversion run by Damien Harris, before scampering 30 yards for a touchdown, that put Alabama back on top (31-28) with 2 minutes and 8 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

On the national title winning drive, of course led by Mr. Watson (could not work in a “Sherlock Holmes” verb) both Williams and Leggett made big catches and with six seconds to play in the 4th quarter (I “needed” overtime) (THUS) pass interference was ruled vs Bama (not as bad as the same call vs Miami which saved Ohio State in their eventual victory, the play? and victory secured in overtime in the ’02 title tilt broadcast by Keith Jackson) moving the ball from the 9, 7 yards to the 2.

Time for one play and a chance for Clemson to title right there and avoid a pressure, albeit short field goal attempt to tie and send the tilt into overtime.

It took as referenced above, 5 seconds. Hunter Renfrow, caught his second touchdown pass from Mr. Watson, giving Clemson their second title on a day Danny Ford, who coached the other, was selected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

 

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Deshaun Watson pictured above in last year’s uniform when his team covered, but in defeat, and Clemson are #1 this year.

Last year Watson’s peg to Jordan Leggett with 55 seconds remaining covered the spread.

This time a  Watson to Hunter Renfrow touchdown pass with one second remaining, gave Clemson just its second title, first in 35 years, and in so doing denied a great (14-0) Alabama team an eleventh such title and what would have been a fifth under their coach, Nick Saban.

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