clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:


Tigers top the Tide to win Clemson’s first National Championship since 1981. These player were key in Clemson’s 35-31 victory

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Offense: Hunter Renfrow, #13, WR, RS Sophomore: Renfrow earned national fame in last year’s championship game with his 2 touchdown performance in Clemson’s 45-40 loss to the Tide. He followed it up this year with a 10 catch, 92 yard performance and 2 touchdowns. Having a solid day all together, 2 plays really stand out in Hunter’s performance Monday. The first was his tackle of Alabama linebacker Ryan Anderson during a third quarter return of Wayne Gallman’s fumble. Anderson looked bound to score Alabama’s 12th defensive touchdown of the season, but Renfrow was able to chase him down and tackle him at the Clemson 16 yard line. The Tiger D was able to hold Alabama to a field goal, only extending their lead to 10 points. Not letting Alabama get that touchdown was huge for keeping Alabama from gaining more momentum. Renfrow also had the touchdown catch that will forever live in Clemson lore. With 6 seconds left on the Alabama 2 yard line Deshaun Watson rolled out to his right and hit an open Renfrow in the endzone for the game winning score with 1 second left. Greg Huegel adds the PAT, and then recovers the onside kick, giving Clemson the National Championship.

Defense: Carlos Watkins, #94, DT, RS Senior: Watkins continued his big postseason with 6 total tackles including 1 for a loss. Watkins and the entire defensive line did a solid job containing Bo Scarbrough for most of the night. Outside of two big runs, Scarbrough was held in check for the most part before leaving in the 4th quarter with a leg injury.

Special Teams: Greg Huegel, #92, K, RS Sophomore: Huegel was 5 for 5 on PAT’s and had a solid day on kickoffs, averagin 45.2 yards per kick and placing the kicks well to prevent any kickoff returns for touchdowns. He also recovered his own onside kick with 1 second left to clinch the game for Clemson. Being able to make sure that kick went 10 yards and then not let Alabama recover it was amazing. Alabama looked to have been caught off guard by the onside kick, as many of Alabama’s front line begin to retreat to prepare to block, only to realize the ball wasn’t in the air. This gave Huegel a relatively easy chance at recovering the kick.

Moment of The Game: The final drive. All year, Clemson’s put fans on edge only to deliver amazing wins, so it was only right that the Tigers did it one final time. When Jalen Hurts scored that late fourth quarter touchdown, Deshaun Watson started smiling because he knew Alabama left too much time on the clock. And many Clemson fans probably smiled too, because if there was any team in the nation this year that could score with 2 minutes left against Alabama in a championship game, it was Clemson. This is what we’ve seen all year from these Tigers, and once it again, Clemson delivered. This game was one of the most exciting National Championships in history, and Clemson has once again risen to the top of the College Football World. And with the talent remaining on the team, the coaches, the recruits coming in, and the culture right now, it shouldn’t be 35 years before the Tigers get another one.