Clemson wins second National Championship in three years behind dominant performance

Zachary Letson

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Tua Tagovailoa (13) of the Alabama Crimson Tide is tackled by Clelin Ferrell #99 of the Clemson Tigers in the CFP National Championship Monday, Jan. 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, Calif. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/TNS)

The #2 Clemson Tigers controlled the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship from start to finish in a surprising blowout victory over the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide 44-16 on Jan. 7.

The scoreline was one almost nobody expected. Alabama, the reigning National Champions, were the number one team in college football every single week of the 2018 season. Although Clemson had a dominant season of their own, most viewed them as the clear underdogs in the game. But the Tigers were more than up to the task.

Both teams reached this year’s national championship game with dominant performances in the College Football Playoff Semifinals on Dec. 29. Clemson cruised to a 30-3 victory over #3 Notre Dame in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, and Alabama ran out to a big lead over #4 Oklahoma early and never looked in their 45-34 win in the Capital One Orange Bowl.

Clemson and Alabama know each other all too well, having played each of the last four years. Three of those years, the national title was on the line. Just last season, Alabama completely shut down the #1 ranked Tigers and their offense. A year later, the scene was completely different. Led by True Freshman Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Clemson never looked uncomfortable in the game. An interception returned for a touchdown off Alabama star QB Tua Tagovailoa in the game’s opening minutes set the tone for the type of performance the Tigers would put on display.

Alabama did respond early on and briefly took a 16-14 lead in the second quarter, but from there it was all Clemson, outscoring the Crimson Tide 30-0 for the remainder of the game. The Tigers defensive front, littered with future NFL talent with the likes of Christian Wilkins and Clelin Ferrell among numerous others took control of the line of scrimmage. Lawrence led a potent Tigers offense alongside fellow True Freshman Wide Receiver Justyn Ross who made a couple circus catches and hauled in a 74 yard touchdown in the third quarter, which helped Clemson put their foot on the gas pedal and stretch the lead. Ross who is just 19 years old, finished against an elite Alabama defense with 6 catches for 153 yards and a touchdown.

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban, who has undoubtedly dominated the sport of college football for the last decade, had never had one of his Alabama teams fall to a True Freshman Quarterback. Trevor Lawrence more than just beat the Tide; his 347 yards, three touchdowns, and no turnovers blew them out of the building.

Alabama’s dynasty of five national championships over the past 10 seasons has left the rest of college football struggling to compete on the same level as the Crimson Tide. With Clemson’s second national championship in the last three seasons, the Tigers have met Alabama’s level of dominance and appear to have a dynasty in the making.