College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T - Alabama v Clemson
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Clemson Tigers won their second College Football National Championship, crushing the Alabama Crimson Tide in Santa Clara.

On Monday night, Silicon Valley became Death Valley.

True freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns, guiding the Clemson Tigers to a 44-16 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide in Monday’s College Football National Championship. The victory at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA clinches Clemson’s second national title in three years, and third overall.

That championship feeling was just the beginning of the historic landmarks for the Tigers. Ending their year 15-0, Clemson becomes just the third team in college football history to earn 15 wins, and the first since Pennsylvania did so in 1897. The 15-0 mark also secures the first undefeated season in the College Football Playoff era (since 2014).

Monday’s championship matchup was expected by many. The Tigers and Crimson Tide routinely topped the polls and rankings throughout the year and each breezed through their CFP semifinal games with relative ease.

But in the fourth Playoff matchup between the two teams and the third that decided the national title, no one could’ve seen such a one-sided score coming, especially one controlled by the underdog Tigers.


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The teams exchanged scores in the early going, going back-and-forth to the tune of a 16-14 Alabama lead. Clemson got their scores through a 44-yard interception return by A.J. Terrell and a 17-yard Travis Etienne run.

Thirty unanswered points later, the Crimson Tide monopoly was over.

Age was just a number for the young Tigers, as a freshmen connection keyed the way to victory.

The final scoring drive for the Tigers was punctuated by highlight-reel hookups between Lawrence and fellow rookie Justyn Ross, ones that saw him haul in big gains with one hand. A sophomore, Tee Higgins, capped it off with the final points of the night, allowing Clemson to coast through the remainder of the game. Earlier in the game, Ross had gotten into the end zone himself on a deep 74-yard strike from Lawrence.

As the Tigers built their massive lead, Alabama, winners by an average margin of 31 points, became more unnerved, making desperation plays like a failed fake field in the third quarter.

The Tide ventured inside Clemson’s 30-yard line twice to open the second half, but emerged without any points each. One venture into Tiger territory ended in a failed fake field goal, more or less permanently putting momentum in Clemson’s corner.

With the historic highs for Clemson come historic lows for the Crimson Tide. The 28-point loss is the largest in head coach Nick Saban’s era and marks the first loss for sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Conversely, Lawrence is just the fourth true freshman quarterback to defeat a Saban-led team and first since 2007.

Follow Geoff Magliocchetti on TWITTER


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