The 2019 National Championship between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers was unique before it even started. It was the first time that two undefeated teams were set to play in the College Football Playoff National Championship game. But by the time the game was over, it became unique for a whole other reason.
Something happened to Alabama that never happens. Clemson dominated them, 44-16.
The game looked like it was going to turn into a shootout early on. Clemson got the scoring started less than two minutes into the game with a 44-yard interception returned for a touchdown by A.J. Terrell.
— College Football Maven (@MavenFootball) January 8, 2019
But the Crimson Tide didn’t wait long to strike back. Barely a minute later, Tua Tagovailoa connected with Jerry Jeudy for a 62-yard touchdown.
Both teams scored another touchdown before the end of the first quarter. But Alabama missed the extra point on the second making the score 14-13 heading into the second.
Alabama took the lead briefly less than a minute into the second with a 25-yard field goal that made the score 16-14, Alabama. The game appeared as if it was going to be a close, hard-fought contest.
But then things changed.
Clemson retook the lead on the next drive when Travis Etienne capped off a six-play, 65-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run, his second rushing touchdown of the day. Tagovailoa, who had thrown four interceptions all season, threw his second of the game. Etienne scored another touchdown, this time off a five-yard pass from Trevor Lawrence.
#Clemson Travis Etienne rips off a 17-yard TD run to put Clemson back on top.
ARE WE HAVING FUN YET? pic.twitter.com/OsVdyWyZ2L
— Steve Frederick (@_SteveFrederick) January 8, 2019
The Tigers tacked on a field goal before the end of the half to make the score 31-16 at the break.
But Alabama fans were not worried– yet. Their team was in a similar position last year at the half down 13-0 to Georgia. Tagovailoa started the second half and gave the offense the spark it needed. However, this time, there was no second-half spark.
Alabama’s defense didn’t have an answer for Clemson’s passing game or the Clemson defense. What had appeared to be a close, high scoring game early on turned into a blowout. Trevor Lawrence added two touchdown passes in the third quarter to make the score 44-16.
It was around then that Clemson head coach Dabo Swiney started making sure everyone got a chance to play.
Lawrence finished the game with 347 yards and three touchdowns. Justyn Ross was his favorite target with six receptions for 153 yards and a touchdown. Travis Etienne had a good night on the ground with 86 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.