The National Championship Game

McKenna Hixon, Staff Writer

And just like that, another college football season is over. This college season was an emotional roller coaster to say the least, from Penn State’s crazy upset against Ohio State to the epic Notre Dame vs Texas overtime, this was a year full of upsets.

The National Championship game for this year came highly anticipated as both Alabama and Clemson were playing extremely high caliber football; not to mention the fact that this would be a rematch of last year’s National Championship Game where Alabama defeated Clemson 45-40, with Clemson keeping it tight that whole game and even taking the initial lead. However, Alabama had a huge fourth quarter, taking the lead and ultimately beating Clemson.

However that was 2016 and this is 2017, and anyone who watched Clemson’s game versus Ohio State could see Dabo Swinney was coming in with a chip on his shoulder, with Clemson’s defense stomping on a powerful Ohio State offense, shutting them out 31-0.

The week going into the game, Alabama was a seven point favorite, however social media was conflicted on whether or not Alabama would be taking home their second title in a row. Following Clemson’s domination of Ohio State, and the thought of revenge in the forefront of their minds.

The thing I was most looking forward to going into this game was a clash of the quarterbacks, with Clemson’s experienced junior Deshaun Watson battling Alabama’s red hot freshman Quarterback Jalen Hurts.

Personally, I was rooting for Clemson, as I’m a big fan of Deshaun Watson and don’t like it that much when teams win a title two years in a row which Alabama had the potential to do.

After watching the first quarter I was ready to write the game off as an Alabama win, with them leading the Tigers 14 to nothing, and Alabama’s defense having some huge stops. However at halftime, things started looking less bleak with a quick 8 yard run from Watson for a Clemson touchdown. As I watched, I could see Clemson’s defense shaking off their rust and starting to take a stand.

By the end of the third, all of America could hear the internal panic attacks of Clemson fans everywhere as the Tigers entered the fourth down by 10, with fifteen minutes left to play. Quickly at the beginning of the fourth, Clemson cut down Alabama’s lead to three with a series of short, sharp passes from Deshaun Watson to bring the orange and purple back to the end zone.

Ten minutes later, with only 2:07 after a quick Alabama drive, Jalen Hurts ran for 30 yards, to score a touchdown and put Alabama back in the lead with a score of 31-28. This is when I started to really lose my mind for Clemson. Clemson had finally been in the lead for the first time in the game, and they blew it by letting Alabama penetrate their rushing defense. At this point I figured Alabama’s defense was going to make a big stand since they hadn’t made one of their signature big plays, but to my surprise Deshaun Watson led the team back down the field with a series of concise passes to score a touchdown with only 1 second left, taking back the lead and not allowing Alabama the opportunity to score again.

With a second still left in the game, pandemonium ensued, with Clemson players and coaches rushing the field only to be pushed back to the sidelines so that Clemson could have their one final drive after recovering the kickoff.

After the game, the celebration was crazy on field. Gatorade was poured on Dabo, before an emotional interview with ESPN’s Sam Ponder that gave me chills. From an outsider’s perspective, Swinney seems like a great guy representing a stand up team, and I was glad to get to see them walk away with the National Title.

A big congratulations to the Clemson coaches and team. We’ll see you this August with the start of the 2017 to 2018 college football season!