That was quite a game, huh?
If you were unaware, the Clemson Tigers came from behind to defeat the Alabama Crimson Tide 35-31 in the College Football Playoff. It was a thrilling affair littered with the sorts of great plays that you would expect in an “instant-classic” game. Some folks are already arguing that this may rank at the very top of recent National Championship games. I, for one, am just glad to see some Tigers come out on top for once.
Alabama's defense was so much better and so much more suited to face Deshaun Watson. Yes, Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts was a freshman, but he had enough horsepower around him to outrun Clemson.
For most of the game, all of that was coming to fruition.
Until the fourth quarter.
After watching Alabama coil itself around teams and slowly suffocate them all season, I think most of us were worried that this game would have a boring, predictable ending. Heading into the fourth quarter though, things felt different.
From the Post-Dispatch:
The lead changed hands three times in the fourth quarter, but Watson got the ball last. Probably playing in his final college game, the junior quarterback threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns.
Coach Dabo Swinney had built an elite program at Clemson that was missing only one thing, and now the Tigers can check that box, too.
The Tigers took a 28-24 lead with 4:38 left in the fourth quarter when Wayne Gallman surged in from a yard out.
Alabama would regain the lead, but they left enough time on the clock for Watson to engineer what would end up being the game-winning drive.
From the Missourian:
"I was calm," Watson said. He said he thought about Vince Young's last-second touchdown for Texas that derailed the Southern California's championship run in the 2005 championship game at the Rose Bowl. He told his team: "Let's go be great."
Watson hooked up with Williams and Jordan Leggett, who made great catches for big gains to get to first-and-goal with 14 seconds left.
A pass interference on Alabama made it first-and-goal at the 2 with six seconds left. Time for one more play to avoid a game-tying kick and potential overtime. Renfrow slipped away from the defense at the goal line and was alone for an easy toss. It was the walk-on receiver's second TD catch of the night, adding to the two he had last season against Alabama.
That was that.
You’re probably asking yourself if there’s any Mizzou connection here beyond a shared mascot. There has to be, right? I mean, I made this the cover story and everything. Fret not, dear reader. You’re absolutely right. There is a deeper reason for discussing this game at length.
With Clemson’s win over Alabama, Mizzou - yes, the University of Missouri - can lay transitive claim to the 2017 National Championship.
Mizzou > Arkansas > Mississippi State > Texas A&M > Tennessee > Virginia Tech > Pitt > Clemson— Brenden Schaeffer (@bschaeffer12) January 10, 2017
- If Mizzou wants to start winning basketball games, they’re going to need to fix the whole “bad at shooting the ball” thing.
- One possible solution: shift the focus from downtown to the paint.
- They’ll get a shot at doing so against Auburn, which is Mizzou’s most winnable game left on the schedule according to KenPom.
- In football crootin’ news, the state of Missouri’s class of 2018 is absolutely loaded with talent.
- Good thing Mizzou just hired a new head of St. Louis community outreach.
- Speaking of loaded with talent - Tanner Houck was named a preseason first team All American.