The Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers took Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida by storm on January 9, 2017. Each team was poised and ready to compete, but only one team could walk away as national champions.
Having lost the 2016 national title game 45-41 to a formidable Alabama team, one could imagine the Clemson Tigers had redemption on their mind.
After completing a perfect regular season, many weren’t surprised to see Alabama making another championship run.
All bets were made and the stakes were set. Surprisingly more bets were actually made in Clemson’s favor. People were banking the underdog, hoping they would avenge their loss from the previous year, and “roll the Tide”.
“There was upwards of $15 million bet on this game alone in Nevada,” according to an ESPN article written by David Purdum.
“More money was bet…between Clemson and Alabama at William Hill’s Nevada sports book than any other college football game in the company’s history, according to vice president of marketing Michael Grodsky,” in the same Purdum article.
No one knew who would be the victor until the final whistle blew. Clemson was quiet in the first half, trailing 14-7 at intermission. After pulling within three in the third quarter, Alabama pulled away again, leading Clemson 24-14 at the end of the third.
The fourth quarter began with a bang; Clemson drove 72 yards and scored to pull within three. After stumping the Tide’s offense, the Tigers got the ball back. The Tigers scored again to take a 28-24 lead with 4:38 left to play.
Then it was Alabama’s turn. Led by freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts, the Tide drove 68 yards in 2:31. The drive was capped off with Hurts’ 30-yard touchdown run.
At this point, Alabama had retaken a three-point lead with 2:07 left in regulation, more than enough time for Clemson.
Clemson’s quarterback Deshaun Watson led his Tigers 66 yards down the field in just under two minutes. With only six seconds left, the Tigers lined up and converted. Watson rolled out to his right and found Hunter Renfrow waiting in the end zone, catching the pass with just one second left on the clock, courtesy of Stacy Long of Montgomery Adviser.
Clemson avenged their loss from last year’s national championship and took down the Crimson Tide by a final score of 35-31.
“‘One game doesn’t define a team, and I think our team demonstrated time and time again this year that they were winners. I’m extremely disappointed that we didn’t have a better outcome today, but I’m also at the same time very proud of what this group of young men was able to accomplish,’ head coach Nick Saban said,” in an AL.com article written by Rainer Sabin.
“Our fans deserve this,” Sweeney said during the post-game ceremonies, reported in an article on sbnation.com by Alex Kirshner.