Tough break for Maurice Smith, getting knocked lights out on the Crimson Tide’s final kickoff with just 1:07 left. Clemson went right into the hurry up and Smith barely made it off the field before the next play. Ol’ Mo might be the only member of the Tide not getting laid tonight. Luckily there’s most definitely an equipment manager waiting to tap in.
In all seriousness, that was the best championship game we’ve seen since the 2006 Rose Bowl when Vince Young became a Longhorn legend. This game gave fans everything we could ask for. So much back and forth. So many breakaway plays, big hits, scoring swings; even a backdoor cover at the end for all the gamblers. Deshaun Watson was absolutely electric, minus the one first half INT.
Just a great read by Eddie Jackson:
30-47 for 405 yards with 4 TDs and 1 pick is an MVP performance any way you spin it. Watson showed his detractors that no matter the defense, he’s a fucking problem.
Dabo’s favorite player, Hunter Renfrow – the freshmen walk-on white boy receiver – had a huge first half with 2 toudys (including that grab above), and then Wayne Gallman picked up where Renfrow left off with over 100 yards and a score in the second half. This ridiculous run to kept the Tigers in the game:
Clemson’s D-line was pretty great on defense, too, but they just couldn’t force any turnovers. That’s a testament to Jake Coker and Derrick Henry. It’s basically impossible to beat Bama without forcing a hiccup.
Henry’s first quarter breakaway TD got the ball rolling early and set the tone for the game.
For a minute I thought we were about to see a beat down, but Clemson traded haymakers all night. This was a drag-out brawl. Alabama had eleven future pros on the field at all times, and sometimes it felt like Watson was out there all by himself, but he and the Tigers’ other key players matched Bama’s effort and produced the best title game in a decade.
In the end, the Tide were too big, too fast, too strong, and Nick Saban brought too much guts. Henry’s a monster. Kenyan Drake is incredible. His 95-yard kick return was arguably the nail in the coffin.
After a FG to tie it at 24, Big Swingin’ Nick made the call of the game with a very un-Saban-like onside pooch. Genius play call if it works but the coach gets crucified if it doesn’t. Guess what folks, Saban’s a damn genius. He knew that his defense was the weak link (weird to say about Bama) and the gamble paid off BIG TIME.
Unbelievable placement by Adam Griffith, too. Hit his man in stride down the seam. Bama’s best throw of the night might have been this kick:
And where the hell did OJ Howard come from? The big TE that no one outside Tuscaloosa County had heard of, had the game of his career. OJ had 350 yards total on the season and then went OFF for over 200 and 2 scores tonight. He looked like Gronk or Jimmy Graham out there. Saban just sitting around with first round specimens in his back pocket all season. Unreal.
Lastly, Jacob Coker. He’s been Tide fans’ whipping boy since arriving in Tuscaloosa, but the kid deserves tons of credit. He lost the starting job twice in two years but continued to get better when he was on the field this season. Coker STUNK early this year. Absolutely sucked. Lane Kiffin gave him no leash and basically rode Henry into the ground because he had to. Coker was destined to be the reason that an otherwise great team failed. But as I said, he got better and better with experience and seemed to win over the locker room and command the Tide.
While he is still not a good quarterback, Coker turned himself into a reliable game manager capable of winning a championship. His play was sporadic at times tonight, but he played with some reckless abandon and took advantage of most opportunities to keep the chains moving. It’s good to see a guy who’s used to getting beat up finally take that title belt.
16-25 for 335 yards and 2 TDs is a helluva line for a “game manager.” Seems like a good dude, too. Slight case of the Andrew Luck sticky milk breath voice but he’s got a drawl so it’s still dreamy.
These were clearly the two best teams in the country and they put on a goddamn show tonight. Here’s hoping that we see Watson, Dabo, and the Tigers back on the big stage next year.
Congrats to Alabama on the dynasty. Saban the GOAT.
PS – How relieved is the CFP committee? This game was so incredible that no casual fans will remember that pathetic New Year’s Eve debacle.