“Roll Tide to Victory”
It’s what championship games are supposed to be all about. Big plays, big hits, big finishes.
Alabama and Clemson did not disappoint in this (45-40) Crimson Tide win over the Tigers.
So much for both team’s having great defenses. Both were gassed, both were gashed when Jay Coker and Deshaun Watson got done throwing the football around the field. The two teams combined for an amazing (1,203) yards and 49-first downs, hitting huge pass plays, big kickoff returns, and keeping the howling mob fans on the edge of their seats.
It took a 24-point explosion by Bama midway thru the 4th quarter to turn this nail biter into a raging-spreading forest fire.
And Lane Kiffin, the deposed USC coach, now the offensive coordinator at Alabama, pulled every trick he had out of the book. Running the ball early, throwing the ball late. Going deep to a seldom used tight end. Triggering a wild on-side kick. Using a 95-yard kickoff return from a benched player. And of course, his great tailback took off on a 50-yard TD scamper too.
Dabo Sweeney’s dynamic offense at Clemson kept coming back, throwing and running, but it was the Tide that rolled in and eventually drowned a very active Tigers defense.
Watson, who finished 3rd in the Heisman voting, wound up with (405Y) passing and 4-TDs and ran the read option for another 73-yards, in a heroic effort. He was still throwing to the end zone right to the bitter end.
Coker went off for (335-P) and a couple of scores. His seldom used tight end OJ Howard wound up with 5-catches for 208-yards. And the guy who won the Heisman, tailback Derrick Henry, kept hammering away till he tired out the guys wearing Orange, finishing with 36-carries and 158-yards rushing.
For Nick Saban, the ultra-driven coach at Alabama, his 4th NCAA title in a 7-year span, and his 5th overall. It leaves his 1-shy of the icon in Tuscaloosa, Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant, who won 6-crowns back in the day.
In a bowl year marred by blowout losses suffered by so-called top teams like Iowa and Michigan State, a season where there were lots of lousy bowl games and bad attendance too, this one proved to be a great way to close out the season.
We’ve seen wild championship games in the past, the Vince Young-Texas Longhorns game with USC ranks right up there. But this one may take the cake.
Roll Tide washed away the hopes of the team from South Carolina. If the game had not ended, they’d still be going up and down the field on each other.