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Streeter Lecka

Clemson scores with 1 second left to beat Alabama in the national championship

Profile image for By Ralph D. Russo
By Ralph D. Russo

Deshaun Watson’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow with 1 second remaining gave Clemson a wild 35-31 win against Alabama in the College Football Playoff national championship game.

Watson completed 36 of 56 passes for 420 yards and three scores in his last college game as the Tigers (14-1) got their first national title since 1981.

Renfrow caught two scoring passes for Clemson, which rallied from a 14-0 deficit and snapped Alabama’s 26-game winning streak.

Bo Scarbrough ran for two touchdowns for Alabama (14-1), which failed in its quest to be the first 15-win major college team since Penn in 1897. Scarbrough left the game with a leg injury in the second half.

Alabama beat Clemson 45-40 last season in the title game. This sequel was as thrilling as the original.

Clemson put up 511 yards on Alabama’s defense, held the ball for nearly 35 minutes overall and scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Clemson then recovered an onside kick, and fittingly that gave Watson a chance to kneel down for the game’s final play — then streamed onto the field in celebration.

Clemson had taken the lead at 28-24, but Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts had a 30-yard touchdown run with 2:07 left to given them the lead right back.

And it came with the Tide’s title hopes essentially down to one play moments earlier.

Damien Harris delivered a 5-yard run on fourth-and-2 with 3 minutes left to keep the drive going. Then a backward pass, Hurts to ArDarius Stewart, who then threw it to O.J. Howard, got Alabama down to the 30.

Hurts did the rest, coming through with the TD run to put the Tide back on top.