Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson threw a two-yard touchdown pass to receiver Hunter Renfrow for the go-ahead score with one second left on the clock to give the Tigers a 35-31 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff national championship on Monday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.


First quarter:

  • Alabama RB Bo Scarbrough runs 25 yards for a TD (Alabama 7, Clemson 0)

Second quarter:

  • Alabama RB Bo Scarbrough scores on a 37-yard run (Alabama 14, Clemson 0)
  • Clemson QB Deshaun Watson scores on a eight-yard carry (Alabama 14, Clemson 7)

Third quarter:

  • Alabama K Adam Griffith makes a 27-yard field goal (Alabama 17, Clemson 7)
  • Clemson WR Hunter Renfrow scores on a 24-yard catch and run (Alabama 17, Clemson 14)
  • Alabama TE O.J. Howard scores on a 68-yard catch (Alabama 24, Clemson 14)

Fourth quarter:

  • Clemson WR Mike Williams catches a four-yard pass for a TD (Alabama 24, Clemson 21)
  • Clemson RB Wayne Gallman scores on a one-yard run (Clemson 28, Alabama 24)
  • Alabama QB Jalen Hurts runs 30 yards for a touchdown (Alabama 31, Clemson 28)
  • Clemson WR Hunter Renfrow scores on a two-yard catch (Clemson 35, Alabama 31)

Clemson wins national championship, 35-31, in thriller over Alabama

Clemson players celebrate after defeating Alabama, 35-31, in the College Football Playoff national championship game. (Chris O'Meara / Associated Press)
Clemson players celebrate after defeating Alabama, 35-31, in the College Football Playoff national championship game. (Chris O'Meara / Associated Press)

Deshaun Watson rolled to his right and completed a two-yard pass to Hunter Renfrow as the receiver backpedaled across the goal line for a game-winning touchdown.

Second-ranked Clemson needed every second in Monday’s College Football Playoff national title game against top-ranked Alabama at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., to win its first national championship since 1981. 

“This is bigger than just me,” Watson told reporters after the Tigers defeated the Crimson Tide, 35-31, by scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter.

The Tigers trailed, 31-28, when they got the ball with 2:01 remaining in the game.

Watson completed a 24-yard pass to Mike Williams and a 17-yard pass to Jordan Leggett to put the Tigers in scoring position. Renfrow caught the touchdown pass with one second left in regulation.

Clemson finished the season 14-1. Alabama, previously undefeated, fell to 14-1.

Watson passed for 420 yards and three touchdowns. 

The Crimson Tide led 14-7 at the end of the first half before the Tigers made a comeback.

In the third quarter, the Tigers took advantage of a poor punt and good field position at Alabama’s 42-yard line. Renfrow caught a 24-yard pass for a touchdown and Clemson trailed, 17-14.

Alabama freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts responded with his longest completion of the game, a 68-yard pass to tight end O.J. Howard, and the Crimson Tide took a 10-point lead, 24-14.

In the fourth quarter, Clemson scored on back-to-back possessions when Mike Williams caught a four-yard pass for a touchdown and Wayne Gallman rushed one yard for a touchdown. The Tigers led, 28-24, with 4:38 remaining.

But Hurts rushed 30 yards for a touchdown to help the Crimson Tide retake the lead, 31-28, with a little more than two minutes on the board — enough time for Clemson’s nine-play, game-winning drive.

Hurts passed for 131 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown.

Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough was injured during the third quarter. He rushed for 93 yards and two touchdowns in 16 carries. 

Slideshow: Photos from the College Football Playoff national championship game

Clemson running back Wayne Gallman (9) is brought down by Alabama defensive back Tony Brown (left). To see more images from the game, click on the photo above. (John Bazemore / Associated Press)
Clemson running back Wayne Gallman (9) is brought down by Alabama defensive back Tony Brown (left). To see more images from the game, click on the photo above. (John Bazemore / Associated Press)

Hunter Renfrow has winning TD catch for Clemson

Clemson defeats Alabama, 35-31, to win national championship

The national championship game came down to the final seconds.

Hunter Renfrow caught a two-yard pass for a touchdown with one second left in the game.

Clemson leads Alabama, 35-31.

It was an impressive series for the Tigers.

Jordan Leggett caught a five-yard pass, and Mike Williams caught a 24-yard pass in the first two plays.

Renfrow caught a six-yard pass on third-and-one, then Leggett made a 17-yard reception -- redemption for an earlier dropped pass on third down.

The Crimson Tide was called for pass interference in the end zone, giving the Tigers a fresh set of downs and time to get into the end zone. 

Clemson made an onside kick, recovered it and took a knee to win the game. 

Alabama leads Clemson, 31-28, in the fourth quarter

Jalen Hurts is a freshman with a lot of guts.

Hurts took off and rushed 30 yards for an Alabama touchdown.

The Crimson Tide retake the lead, 31-28, with 2:07 remaining in the game.

Coach Nick Saban elected to go for it on fourth and one. Hurts handed off to Damien Harris, who rushed five yards for a first down.

Next play, Hurts tossed laterally to receiver ArDarius Stewart, who completed a 24-yard pass to O.J. Howard, setting up the touchdown run.

This is setting up for a remarkable finish.

Clemson leads Alabama, 28-24, in the fourth quarter

Clemson has taken the lead.

Wayne Gallman rushed one yard for a touchdown. The Tigers lead Alabama, 28-24, for the first time with 4:38 remaining in the game. 

What a drive it was for Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson. The possession covered 88 yards in six plays and took 1:55.

Watson rushed 15 yards, but was stopped short of the end zone to set up the score. 

He also completed a 17-yard pass to Jordan Leggett and a 26-yard pass to Mike Williams.

Officials tacked 15 more yards onto Williams' catch after flagging Da'Ron Payne for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Alabama had not trailed in the fourth quarter this season.

Alabama's offense is stalling without Bo Scarbrough

Jalen Hurts launched a deep third-down pass a bit too far, it fell incomplete and Alabama punted.

Once again, Clemson will have a chance to tie the score or take the lead.

Damien Harris rushed for three yards before Hurts threw two incomplete passes.

Hurts has completed 11 of 28 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown.

Clemson drops a third-down pass and punts

Jordan Leggett might be having nightmares about this drop.

Leggett let a pass hit him in the hands and fall to the ground on third and 10. Clemson punted.

Tigers Coach Dabo Swinney lost his mind during the possession when officials didn't call defensive pass interference on an incomplete pass.

It's apparent that the Tigers are starting to feel the pressure with less than eight minutes remaining in the game, and Clemson down three points.

Alabama punts for a second consecutive series

Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough remains sidelined after he suffered an injury in the third quarter, and his absence is hurting the Crimson Tide.

Alabama punted for a second consecutive series.

Jalen Hurts rushed for three yards, Josh Jacobs rushed for three more and then Hurts was forced out of bounds at the line of scrimmage.

Deshaun Watson takes fourth sack and Clemson punts

Clemson had a chance to tie the score or take the lead, but the Alabama defense made a stand.

Rashaan Evans and Jonathan Allen sacked Deshaun Watson on first down to set up second and 16. It was the fourth time Watson has been sacked in the game.

The Tigers couldn't dig their way out of the hole and were forced to punt.

Clemson has the chance to take the lead against Alabama

O.J. Howard might have stolen a pass from tailback Damien Harris, and the result: short of a first down.

Alabama punted.

Clemson's defense tackled Jalen Hurts for a one-yard loss before Cordrea Tankersley broke up a pass.

Clemson will now have a chance to take the lead.

Alabama leads Clemson, 24-21, in the fourth quarter

This game could come down to the final minutes now that Clemson has scored a much-needed touchdown.

Mike Williams, open in the end zone, caught a four-yard pass and the Tigers have cut Alabama's lead to 24-21 with 14 minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

The scoring drive covered 72 yards in nine plays and took 2:47.

Deshaun Watson completed five passes, of 11, 12, 17, nine and four yards. 

Alabama leads Clemson, 24-14, in the third quarter

What a dagger.

Jalen Hurts found tight end O.J. Howard running free down the left sideline behind the Clemson defense for a 68-yard pass play and a touchdown. 

Alabama leads Clemson, 24-14, in the third quarter. The scoring drive covered 79 yards in four plays and took 1:01.

It was Howard's second catch of the game and longest completion by Hurts, who was nine-of-23 passing for 49 yards before the play.

Bo Scarbrough rushed for 11 yards in consecutive carries, but was assisted off the field with an apparent injury after the second carry.

Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell has injured his left foot or ankle and is standing without his helmet on the sideline.

Deshaun Watson sacked for a third time

Deshaun Watson did all he could to try to convert on third and 15, but the Clemson quarterback was tackled -- and spun helicopter style to the ground -- one yard short of a first down.

The Tigers punted.

Wayne Gallman rushed for one yard, caught a 13-yard pass and rushed for two yards before Watson was sacked by Ryan Anderson.

It was the third time that Watson has been sacked.

Anderson has been everywhere for the Crimson Tide on defense.

Clemson's defense makes another stop

Alabama's offense is starting to sputter at the wrong time.

The Crimson Tide went three-and-out.

Jalen Hurts attempted a very deep pass on first down that fell incomplete. 

Bo Scarbrough was met by Ben Boulware at the line of scrimmage and Hurts' third-down pass was dropped by Gehrig Dieter.

Alabama leads Clemson, 17-14, in the third quarter

Clemson started with great field position and it resulted in seven points.

Deshaun Watson completed a 24-yard pass to Hunter Renfrow for a touchdown.

Alabama leads Clemson, 17-14, in the third quarter. The scoring drive covered 42 yards in four plays and took 1:03.

The Tigers started at Alabama's 42-yard line after a short punt. 

Deon Cain caught a 14-yard pass on a play that held up after a review, and Watson rushed for four yards. After an incomplete throw, Watson found Renfrow for the touchdown.


Clemson finally gets good field position

Alabama had bad field position -- at Clemson's five-yard line -- and didn't help its cause.

The Crimson Tide went three and out.

At halftime, Dabo Swinnney said the Tigers needed to improve their field position. 

After a bad Crimson Tide punt from deep in their own territory, Clemson will have the ball at Alabama's 42-yard line.

Officials reverse a call and Clemson punts

Officials reversed a call, ruling a Clemson pass on third down was incomplete, and Deshaun Watson pooch punted on fourth down.

The Tigers were moving the ball swiftly until Watson's low throw on third down hit the ground.

Watson completed a 14-yard pass to Deon Cain, a nine-yard pass to Hunter Renfrow and a six-yard pass to Mike Williams during the possession.

Alabama leads Clemson, 17-7, in the third quarter

Ryan Anderson recovered his second fumble of the game and Alabama converted the turnover into three points.

The Crimson Tide lead Clemson, 17-7, in the third quarter.

The Tigers started the half with the ball but quickly lost it.  Anderson knocked the ball out of Wayne Gallman's arms, recovered it and ran 12 yards before Hunter Renfrow tackled him. If Renfrow hadn't tackled him, Anderson could have gone for six. 

Instead, the Crimson Tide were at Clemson's 16-yard line.

Tackle Cam Robinson, not one for making  mistakes, was called for his second false start of the game. Nick Saban looked angry on the sideline and Alabama settled for the field goal after finding itself at first and 15 and unable to dig out.








Alabama leads Clemson, 14-7, at halftime

Deshaun Watson made an impressive throw from deep in Clemson's own territory when he connected with Hunter Renfrow on a 19-yard pass.

But the possession stalled in the next three plays, in part because of a false start, and the Tigers punted.

Clemson has three penalties for 35 yards. Alabama has five for 40.

Alabama got the ball back with 19 seconds remaining in the second quarter and ran one play.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban told a sideline reporter that the Crimson Tide needed to be more consistent and do "a better job at executing."

Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney said that the Tigers were "getting their butts kicked in field position," and that they must clean up their play.

Clemson has 203 total yards to Alabama's 183. 

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