Put plain and simple, Nick Saban and the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide got taken to the woodshed Monday night in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
The defending champions rolled into Levi’s Stadium looking to secure their third title in four seasons, but Alabama ran into an absolute buzzsaw clad in orange and white as the No. 2 Clemson Tigers steamrolled the Tide, 44-16, en route to their second national title in three seasons.
The two teams exchanged blows early with Clemson holding a 14-13 lead after the first quarter, but it was all Tigers after that. Clemson’s defense pressured and flustered Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa all night, forcing two turnovers and holding the Tide to 4-for-13 on third down. As for the Tigers’ offense, freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence was outstanding, throwing for 347 yards and three touchdowns while fellow freshman Justyn Ross caught six passes for 153 yards and one touchdown.
It’s pretty rare to see a Saban-coached team get manhandled. In fact, the legendary head coach hasn’t suffered this great of a defeat since, well, before becoming a legend in Tuscaloosa.
Saban and the Tide will try to regroup in the offseason and more likely than not will find themselves right back in the College Football Playoffs and perhaps the National Championship Game. The only problem for Alabama is the team that shellacked them Monday night likely will be there waiting for them.