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Clemson Tigers Upset Alabama in Thrilling National Championship

Sam Berkun, Sports Editor

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The Clemson Tigers took down the Alabama Crimson Tide 35-31 to win the National Championship Monday night at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. This is the Tigers’ first national title since 1981 and second in school history. Clemson trailed the entire game until the fourth quarter where they scored the go-ahead touchdown on a throw from senior QB Deshaun Watson to WR Hunter Renfrow with just one second left on the clock. Clemson improved their final record to 14-1, while the previously undefeated Tide fell to 14-1.

Watson threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns, and Alabama’s Freshman QB, Jalen Hurts, threw for 131 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown. Clemson was down 14-7 after the first half and made a late comeback in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of back-to-back possessions, scoring twice to take the lead 28-24 with only 4:38 left. Alabama stole back their lead with a 30 yard rushing touchdown by Hurts. The Clemson Tigers were able to seal the deal on a true thriller by scoring on a two-yard pass to win the National Championship.

With this devastating loss, Crimson Tide fans nationwide now look for strategies to move on. While some may live in the past, Zach Rood, a sophomore attending the University of
Alabama and 2015 SHS graduate, promotes an optimistic outlook for the future of the team, and hopes the Tide will use this loss as their new motivation. He said that “Clemson was the better team yesterday. It does stink to lose, but going to the national championship back-to-back doesn’t happen often; it’s an experience our program needed, and I can’t wait to see how our team uses this experience to grow.”

On the other hand, about 317 miles from Alabama University, many delighted and prideful students reside. Jake Lavery, a freshman at Clemson University and 2016 Westhill graduate, agrees it was an incredible game. He said, “ We faced a lot of criticism and doubt from the media, but we knew this team was capable of [winning the championship] all season long. Clemson had more heart yesterday.” After the win, Lavery admitted that this Monday was the greatest day of his life. Another Clemson student, Mackenzie Brown (SHS class of 2016), said that “Being back at Clemson and surrounded by everyone made winning even that more memorable. I’m so honored to be a part of this school and see us take home the Natty.”

Although only one team can win the National Championship, the juxtaposition of the feelings of fans of the winning and losing teams can provide perspective on such situations and only exemplifies students’ unconditional love for their own schools and teams.   

 

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Clemson Tigers Upset Alabama in Thrilling National Championship