By: Kylan Watson
Last night, in the 2017 College Football National Championship game, the Clemson University Tigers beat the University of Alabama Crimson Tide 35-31. This matchup was a repeat of last year’s title game. The Crimson Tide came out victorious in last year’s game. The Tigers needed a performance for the ages from star quarterback Deshaun Watson to beat the Tide.
Watson and the Tigers were down 14-7 at halftime, the Tide were winning the field position battle and Running back Bo Scarborough was running it right down the Tigers throat. Scarborough scored the first two Td’s of the game. He scored a 25 yard touchdown and he was running over Clemson defenders and dragging them to pay dirt with him. Defensively the Tide had Clemson’s number in the first half, as the Tigers could not get anything going offensively until the final few minutes of the second quarter. When Watson scored an 8 yard touchdown run, to cut the score in half and send the Tiger’s to the locker room only down by seven.
In the second half the Tiger’s finally woke up and they begin to win the game in all three phases during the third and fourth quarters. The Tide suddenly found themselves losing the field position battle to the Tigers. Alabama started most of their possessions in the second half backed up at their own 10 yard line. The game also turned when Scarborough injured his knee. Suddenly Alabama was missing one of their most dangerous weapons. The Tide suddenly found themselves losing the time of possession battle as well without their star running back to help them keep drives alive. It all fell on freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts to carry the offense, and he just could not do it. The moment was too big for him.
However, the moment was not too big for Watson as he passed for 420 yards, rushed for 43 yards, and threw three touchdown passes and rushed for one touchdown pass. Watson’s last pass was arguably the most impactful pass of his college career as his final touchdown pass was the difference in a four-point win over the Tide.
The one thing that always destroys Nick Saban defenses is a mobile quarterback. Saban’s teams have an unusually hard time against mobile quarterbacks who are bigger, stronger, and faster than their all-pro defenses. The Tide had to go up against Watson for the past two years and he has lit their defense up both times. The Tide came up against a perfect storm last night, a Clemson team that was very hot as they came off a 35-0 blowout of the Ohio State buckeyes. Not only was Clemson as a team playing well, but Watson unlike last year was fully healthy and ready to play this year.
Watson was flying under the radar all season, because of Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson having the best season of his college career. However, when it mattered the most Watson literally put the team on his back and led his Tigers down the field to score the game winning touchdown. Watson showed poise beyond his years; that alone will make NFL scouts and teams very happy in years to come. Watson proved that he is not only NFL ready but he probably is the best college football player on the planet as he led the Clemson University Tigers to their first national title win since 1981, and stopped Alabama from being back to back national champions.