Clemson strikes first with a huge defensive play
Tua Tagovailoa looked settled in with two early completions for 20 yards. But on his third throw, the Clemson defense fooled him by jumping a short route. A.J. Terrell made the interception and returned the ball 44 yards for a touchdown.
It’s 7-0 Clemson with 13:20 left in the first quarter.
Tigers fail to get going
A good start for the Alabama defense as it forces a three-and-out by Clemson. Trevor Lawrence’s first pass to the flat was batted down and his third-and-7 attempt sailed past Hunter Renfrow. Tide takes over on its 20.
Coin toss complete
Alabama wins the toss and defers its option to the second half. That means Clemson and freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence get the ball first.
Kickoff coming shortly.
Call in Round 4. And Round 3 in the College Football Playoff championship game.
Alabama and Clemson meet again Monday in the fourth consecutive postseason. The showdown in Santa Clara, California, comes after they split two previous matchups in the title game in the 2015 and 2016 season. Alabama won last year’s semifinal.
This will be the third title in four years if the Tide prevail and second in three seasons for the Tigers should they win. If history holds, this should be another memorable and close matchup between the teams. The previous two title games were decided by less than a touchdown.
Whichever team wins will also become the first team in the modern era of college football to finish its season with a 15-0 record.
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Clemson stars make it to California
Former Tigers stars Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins both play together with the Houston Texans. With their team knocked out of the playoffs this past weekend in the NFL wild card round, they decided go support their alma mater.
Watson is also serving as honorary captain.
Nikki Haley in attendance
The former United States ambassador to the United Nations graduated from Clemson and was also governor of South Carolina. Having resigned her job at the end of the last year, she made the trek west to support her alma mater.