The Sweetest Revenge

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It was the rematch that everyone wanted to see at the end of the season in 2016 as the Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers had just put on a show.

The Tigers had quieted the beast that is the Alabama machine as both teams were fighting a tight battle right until the end.

When the game ended with the Tide ahead 45-40 it seemed a little disappointing but only because the game was so exciting everyone wanted more.

Entering into the new season the Tide were making sure that they were headed to the national championship for another year.

They came out strong and finished strong with the best defence in college football and one that many thought could be the best ever.

Along with that was a slightly adjusted offence under a dual-threat freshman QB in Jalen Hurts that assured them a spot in the playoff.

The Tigers didn’t have the same type of season as they were not nearly as dominant but still put up some great games.

Despite one loss, the Tigers were the best offence in the country led by a sure top pick in the upcoming NFL draft, Deshaun Watson.

Along with a quick defence and great pass rush the Tigers were able to take the ACC title and find their way back to the playoff.

As both headed into the playoff their rematch was in sight and neither let an extra game bother them on the way to the title game.

The Tide walked through the Washington Huskies who were the surprise team of the season earning the #4 spot after winning the Pac-12.

Despite a slow start and some apparent offensive issues that led to Lane Kiffin leaving earlier than expect the Tide were still themselves in the win.

The Tigers surprised some in beating the Ohio State Buckeyes in the way that they did shutting out the offence and getting an easy win.

The two dominant wins meant that the CFP Committee got things right ranking these the top two teams in the country.

There may have been others that could challenge them but likely nobody that could have beat them and as a result, they found themselves back in the biggest game of the season.

All the talk heading into the game was surrounding Watson as he gave the Alabama defence everything they could handle last year pushing them more than almost anyone.

Even Nick Saban admitted that Watson was the best player they have ever had to plan for with his great passing and running ability that causes issues for everyone.

The questions were whether or not Watson could do the same this time around or would this improved defence be able to shut him down for four quarters.

From the start of the game, the defences took control as Watson couldn’t be that game-breaker the Tigers needed.

Instead, the Tide defence was able to find their way to the backfield multiple times and cut off any escape lanes for Watson.

It clearly made the young QB uncomfortable and he didn’t look himself throughout the first half of the game.

It wasn’t the end of the world for the Tigers though as their own defence was able to step up throughout the first half.

They did let the Tide run over them a few times leading to a 14-0 lead early on two running touchdowns by Bo Scarbrough.football-sidebar

Watson began to find his game though as he marched the team down for their first touchdown near the end of the second quarter and bringing the momentum back to Clemson before halftime.

That momentum followed the Tigers into the second half as they looked like they were preparing a good run until a fumble stopped them in their tracks.

That fumble only resulted in a field goal and from that point on Watson started to really take over through the air.

The Tide were ahead but the Tigers were on their heels beginning to match every scoring play and reducing the lead to three by the fourth quarter.

Just like last year, the game got even better as the final quarter started as both teams fought back and forth with both taking leads in the fourth.

Just when it seemed like Watson was going to walk away with a win the freshman QB, Hurts, put the Tide on his back and ran the ball in to go ahead with two minutes left.

It put the ball in the hands of Watson with a two-minute drill to win the National Championship with a touchdown or send the game into overtime by getting them into field goal range.

Watson marched them down the field one big play at a time got them within striking distance of a national championship.

Thanks to a pass interference call the Tigers had one last chance to win the game and the ball was in the hands of the best player on the field.

Watson threw a touchdown leaving one second on the clock and winning the game for Clemson to go out on top and into the NFL.

The Tide seemed like they had it set as they were able to shut down Watson for most of the game but eventually that talent came through.

Meanwhile, the Tigers and their defence were able to give Watson time to figure things out as they forced Hurts to beat them and as good as he is he wasn’t ready to lead the Tide in the passing game and forced them to be one-dimensional.

The Tigers did what not many have done in the past and what nobody had done all year as it was their first loss of the season and one of few national championship losses.

Alabama was knocked off and they will be back but for now the Tigers sit on top of the college football world as the revenge the Tigers received means a third new champion in the College Football Playoff after another classic.

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