Defense wins championships? Not this year in college football, it didn’t.
Alabama and Clemson combined for 85 points Monday night in a wild and crazy College Football Playoff championship game. There was very little defense played at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Instead, it was special teams that helped the Crimson Tide knock off the Tigers 45-40 and secure Alabama’s fourth national title in seven years.
With the game tied at 24 early in the fourth quarter, Nick Saban’s squad executed a surprise onside kick to perfection, catching the Clemson return unit completely off guard.
Alabama quarterback Jake Coker found O.J. Howard on a 51-yard touchdown pass two plays later. After Clemson responded with a field goal, it was Kenyan Drake’s turn to command the spotlight.
The senior running back received the ensuing kickoff and took it back 95 yards for a touchdown, capping the electrifying runback with a Space Jam-esque stretch for the pylon.
Drake’s return put the Tide ahead 38-27 with less than eight minutes to play, but the teams weren’t done there. They combined to score 21 more points over the final 4:40, with the outcome remaining undecided until Clemson was unable to recover an onside kick with 12 seconds left to play.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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