Jan. 12, 2017
"The Stack" 1-10-17
The Stack is back on this Tuesday and what a miraculous college football championship game we saw Monday night. The Stack is here with reaction to it all. Also of note, the Jacksonville Jaguars are the first of the six teams to fill their head coaching vacancy by removing the interim tag from head coach Doug Marrone and naming him their head coach. That doesn’t seem like a move that is all that exciting, but what is more exciting for Jaguars fans is that former Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin has been named president of football operations. That is a smart hire. Know what else is smart? Reading reaction to Clemson’s national championship win in “the stack” for today, Tuesday, January 10th:
Clemson wins national championship
In one of the best national championship games and college football games of all time, the Clemson Tigers denied Alabama another championship and won their first national championship since 1981 with a 35-31 win over the Crimson Tide. If you don’t want to say the game was one of the best of all-time, OK that is fine, but the final six minutes of this game was the best six minutes I’ve ever seen and I have to think a lot of other people have seen as it featured three lead changes by the two best teams in the country.
First things first though. Bama started out hot. They hit Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson. Clemson couldn’t get much going offensively. When Bo Scarbrough went 37 yards to put Alabama up 14-0, you felt like Clemson’s next offensive possession was pivotal to keep them in this game. Clemson responded with a Watson touchdown run. Watson was just getting started.
Things didn’t look so hot for Clemson when they fumbled right away in the third quarter, but their defense rose to the occasion and held Alabama to a field goal. Alabama killer Hunter Renfrow had himself another monster game and got Clemson back in the game 17-14 after he caught a drag route and turned it upfield for a touchdown. Alabama delivered a blow right back when Clemson had a miscommunication in coverage and let tight end O.J. Howard go down the sideline for a 68-yard touchdown reception. Clemson though would not go away. They drove down the field and scored a minute into the fourth quarter thanks to a little pick that gained wide receiver Mike Williams some separation and he made the touchdown catch. Williams made several acrobatic catches throughout the game. There is a reason he is arguably the number one wide receiver in college football.
A big moment happened earlier in the second half when Scarbrough had to leave the game with a leg injury. That was a big blow to the Alabama offense. They struggled to move the ball down the field. They were a putrid 2-for-15 on third downs and their average yards to go on third down was staggering. This wasn’t Lane Kiffin leaving. This was just an Alabama offense that wasn’t that good. Clemson took the lead 28-24 on a Wayne Gallman touchdown run. He had the fumble on the first drive of the third quarter. Alabama does not trail in the fourth quarter yet here they were finding themselves down by four. Facing a third-and-16, freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts extended the play and threw the ball across his body for fifteen yards. They converted fourth-and-one and then had a trick play up their sleeve before Hurts scampered in from 30 yards out to give Alabama the lead. That is just what Clemson wanted. Watson answered back with several big throws and with one second left found Renfrow for the dagger. Clemson won 35-31. One of the best finishes of all-time.
I saw a quarterback in Deshaun Watson who I don’t think will have any problem playing in the NFL on Sundays. For those that think UNC’s Mitch Trubisky is better than him, I guess we all have our own opinions. Watson beat up an Alabama defense in back-to-back years. That just doesn’t happen. He came up big when he had to. Mike Williams will be playing on Sundays as will seemingly half of Alabama’s defense. The game was a little too long for my liking. Too many replays, but the final five or six minutes could not be beat. What a championship game. Sorry number one Bama fan Phyllis. Your team is going to have wait to win another championship. This is Clemson’s time right now. What a game! Congrats Clemson!
Coming up later this week: NFL Divisional playoffs preview