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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.
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 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 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 the Crimson Tide’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.
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