End of game: The Tigers are back on top! After a thrilling first quarter, Clemson runs away with the College Football Playoff National Championship Game to earn its second title in the past three seasons.
Fourth quarter, 2:45, 44-16 Clemson: With a victory all but secured, Clemson calls a timeout to take out a number of starters, allowing players deeper on the depth chart to soak up the national championship stage.
Fourth quarter, 4:51, 44-16 Clemson: Another big run for Trevor Lawrence, who goes for 8 yards to pick up a first down on a 3rd-and-6.
Fourth quarter, 7:01, 44-16 Clemson: Travis Etienne continues to motor, this time for 38 yards to move the Tigers to Alabama’s 43-yard line.
Fourth quarter, 9:17, 44-16 Clemson: Trevor Lawrence can get it done with his legs, too. He runs for 7 yards on a 2nd-and-8 from Alabama’s 3-yard line, allowing Travis Etienne to pick up a first down with a 7-yard run of his own.
Fourth quarter, 10:21, 44-16 Clemson: Alabama shifts gears and turns to Jalen Hurts, but the quarterback change is of no avail as the Tide goes three-and-out.
Fourth quarter, 11:23, 44-16 Clemson: Instead of trying to eat clock, the Tigers throw two incomplete passes after a first-down rush and quickly give the ball back to Alabama.
Fourth quarter, 12:17, 44-16 Clemson: What a statement by the Tigers’ defense. After a 7-yard pass to Damien Harris on 1st-and-goal brought the Tide to Clemson’s 1-yard line, Alabama rushed twice for no gain before Tua Tagovailoa was mauled for a 7-yard loss on 4th down.
End of third quarter, 44-16 Clemson: The third frame ends with an exclamation point, as Tua Tagovailoa avoids the pressure and find Jerry Jeudy for a 48-yard gain.
Third quarter, 0:21, 44-16 Clemson: We’re officially in blowout territory. Trevor Lawrence finds Tee Higgins for a 5-yard touchdown just ahead of the final frame.
Third quarter, 2:56, 37-16 Clemson: Trevor Lawrence connects for an 8-yard pass to Justyn Ross, who coughs the ball up to Alabama as he went down at the Tide’s 35-yard line. But upon official review, Ross was deemed down before the football came loose.
Third quarter, 4:05, 37-16 Clemson: Trevor Lawrence can do no wrong in the biggest game of his life. The first-year QB steps up on a 3rd-and-12 and floats a 37-yard pass to Justyn Ross, who reached out with one hand and bobbled the football before ultimately gaining possession.
Third quarter, 5:42, 37-16 Clemson: Alabama’s fourth-down luck finally runs out. On a 4th-and-4 from Clemson’s 14-yard line, Tua Tagovailoa’s scramble is stopped a yard of the first-down marker.
Third quarter, 7:48, 37-16 Clemson: Tua Tagovailoa delivers one of his best passes of the game, a 23-yard strike to DeVonta Smith to bring the Tide to the Tigers’ 36-yard line.
Third quarter, 8:26, 37-16 Clemson: Just when it seemed like Alabama’s defense was going to rise up, Clemson’s grip on the game got tighter. Despite heavy pressure, Trevor Lawrence a pass off his back foot on 3rd-and-8 to Justyn Ross, who cruised to the end zone for a 74-yard score.
Third quarter, 9:47, 31-16 Clemson: The first trick play of the game goes by the wayside. After Tua Tagovailoa’s pass on 3rd-and-6 was broken up, the Tide lined up for a 40-yard field goal, but holder Marc Jones’ rush attempt was halted after just yards gained.
Third quarter, 13:02, 31-16 Clemson: Alabama’s gutsiness pays off again, as Josh Jacobs powers for two yards on a 4th-and-1 to keep the drive alive.
Third quarter, 15:00, 31-16 Clemson: Damien Harris bolts for 15 yards on the first play of the second half.
Halftime, 31-16 Clemson: Alabama tried to get something going before the break, but an incomplete pass and a Tua Tagovailoa 6-yard run killed the Tide’s aggression.
Second quarter, 0:45, 31-16 Clemson: Alabama brings down the house on 3rd-and-12, forcing Trevor Lawrence to throw the ball away. Greg Huegel’s 36-yard field goal is good.
Second quarter, 1:52, 28-16 Clemson: Frustration is starting to boil over for Alabama. Xavier McKinney delivers a late hit out of bounds following a 12-yard catch by Justyn Ross, tacking on 15 yards and moving Clemson to the Tide’s 33-yard line.
Second quarter, 2:04, 28-16 Clemson: Trevor Lawrence kicks off the Tigers’ drive with a beauty of a 19-yard pass to Trevion Thompson, moving Clemson to its 40-yard line.
Second quarter, 2:18, 28-16 Clemson: After runs of 11, 3 and 7 yards by Najee Harris, Clemson emphatically ends Alabama’s drive as Trayvon Mullen flies in for an 11-yard sack. Tua Tagovailoa coughed up the football on the play, but Ross Pierschbacher jumped on it to prevent the QB’s third turnover of the game.
Second quarter, 4:38, 28-16 Clemson: Thrice is nice. Travis Etienne scores his third touchdown of the game courtesy of a 5-yard pass from Trevor Lawrence.
Second quarter, 6:02, 21-16 Clemson: Trevor Lawrence keeps Clemson’s drive alive with a 26-yard dart to Amari Rodgers, bringing the Tigers down to Alabama’s 5-yard line.
Second quarter, 8:05, 21-16 Clemson: Tua Tagovailoa now has half as many interceptions on the night as he did entering Monday. His deep ball sails and is picked off by Trayvon Mullen, who returns it 46 yards to the Alabama 47-yard line.
Second quarter, 10:02, 21-16 Clemson: The Crimson Tide aren’t playing scared. They elect to go for it yet again on a 4th-and-1 from their own 34-yard line and Josh Jacobs moves the chains with a 3-yard run.
Second quarter, 11:38, 21-16 Clemson: After coming up a yard short on 1st-and-goal, Travis Etienne easily finds the end zone from a yard out for his second touchdown of the game.
Second quarter, 16-14 Alabama: Another chunk play for Clemson. Trevor Lawrence connects on a screen pass with Tavien Feaster, who dashes 26 yards to the Alabama 24-yard line.
Second quarter, 14:18, 16-14 Alabama: Tua Tagovailoa’s 3rd-and-goal attempt from Clemson’s 3-yard line results in a four-yard loss on a completion to Damien Harris. Joseph Bulovas makes up for his missed PAT by converting on a 25-yard field goal.
End of first quarter, 14-13 Clemson: The opening frame comes to a close as the Crimson Tide respond to a costly false start with a 3-yard catch from Henry Ruggs III.
First quarter, 2:01, 14-13 Clemson: The Crimson Tide are letting it all hang out on the big stage. Alabama elects to go for it on a 4th-and-1 at the Clemson 6-yard line, and Josh Jacobs converts with a four-yard run on a direct snap.
First quarter, 5:34, 14-13 Clemson: Alabama responds to its scoring drive by forcing a Clemson three-and-out.
First quarter, 6:23, 14-13 Clemson: Tua Tagovailoa finds Hale Hentges for a one-yard touchdown pass, but Joseph Bulovas fails to convert on the point-after attempt.
First quarter, 6:44, 14-7 Clemson: Najee Harris appeared to score Alabama’s second score of the game, but his stretch for the end zone comes up just short as the initial rule of touchdown is reversed.
First quarter, 9:17, 14-7 Clemson: Alabama avoids its first three-and-out of the game as Tua Tagovailoa connects with DeVonta Smith for a 15-yard gain.
First quarter, 10:35, 14-7 Clemson: The points are flooding in early. One play after Trevor Lawrence’s deep shot, Travis Etienne scampers 17 yards to paydirt and gives Clemson the lead again.
First quarter, 11:03, 7-7: It only was a matter of time before Trevor Lawrence showed off his cannon of an arm. The freshman keeps the Tigers’ drive alive on a 3rd-and-14 with a 62-yard strike to Tee Higgins.
First quarter, 12:05, 7-7: Now that’s how you respond. After runs of three and 10 yards by Damien Harris, Tua Tagovailoa uncorks a 62-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Jeudy to knot the score.
First quarter, 13:20, 7-0 Clemson: Tua Tagovailoa only threw four interceptions on the season, but his fifth came at great cost. On just his third pass of the game, the Alabama QB is picked off by A.J. Terrell Jr., who takes the interception 44 yards to the house and gives the Tigers an early lead.
First quarter, 14:28, 0-0: Alabama brings strong defensive pressure and forces a Clemson 3-and-out on the game’s first possession.
8:15 p.m. ET: Alabama has won the coin toss and defers to the second half. Clemson will receive the opening kick off.
7:50 p.m. ET: The Tigers are ready to roll.
7:15 p.m. ET: We’re less than an hour away from kickoff as some of the players and coaches get acclimated to the Levi Stadium turf.
6:30 p.m. ET: Both teams have arrived to Levi Stadium.
6:20 p.m. ET: Here’s a look at the head-coaching matchup, as well as a handful of future NFLers to keep an eye out for Monday night.
We are only a few short hours away from kickoff of the College Football Playoff National Championship Game between the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide and the No. 2 Clemson Tigers at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, CA.
This will be the third time in four years the Tide and Tigers have met on college football’s biggest stage. Alabama claimed victory in an offensive shootout in 2015, while Deshaun Watson’s magic helped Clemson exact revenge the following season.
The Tide punched their ticket to the championship round via an Orange Bowl victory over Oklahoma, while the Tigers made easy work of Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl Classic. If Nick Saban can lead his team to a perfect 15-0 campaign, the decorated head coach will take home his seventh career national championship.
Keep it right here with our live blog for score updates, analysis, highlights and reaction from the College Football Playoff National Championship Game between the Crimson Tide and Tigers.
Thumbnail photo via Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports