Alabama vs Clemson round four: What happened to Bama’?


Michael Li

Clemson defeated Alabama by a score of 44-16 in the CFP National Championship Monday night.

Landon DeBoer, Sports Editor

On Monday night, the number one ranked Alabama Crimson Tide faced off against the number two ranked Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoffs (CFP) National Championship. With teams as talented as these two, it was bound to be a good game, right? Wrong! Let’s see where Alabama went wrong in their 44-16 defeat at the hands of the Tigers.

The Crimson Tide began the game with a strong defensive stop, looking as though they may take an early lead. As soon as the Tide took control of the ball, however, they seemed completely out of sorts. On Alabama’s first drive, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw a pick-six and that’s where the Tide’s offensive woes began. Tagovailoa seemed like he was trying too hard to play well in the game, and this hurt the calm and collected mentality he usually plays with. Even though Tagovailoa was able to string together a couple of nice drives in the game, his ego continued to get in the way of his normal, nearly flawless decision-making. In the end, Tagovailoa finished 22-34 with 295 yards, 2 TD and 2 INT, according to Bleacher Report. This was an abysmal performance for the Heisman runner-up.

The game was close early on, but as Clemson began to gain a short lead, the Tide made some questionable coaching calls. While trailing early in the third quarter in a two-score game, Alabama decided to call a fake field goal on a fourth down. This fake consisted of the holder keeping the ball and trying to run for a first down. As Alabama went to the line, the Tigers lined up their defense in a formation to play against a fake. Instead of audibling to just kick the field goal, or use a timeout, the Tide ran the play anyway and they were stuffed by the Clemson defense. The controversial play call will probably go down as one of the worst in CFP history.

Another controversial coaching call the Tide made was optioning to stop running the ball. The Tide were successful early in the first and second quarters with their running game, and as Clemson gained a small margin in the score, the Tide stopped running the football and focused primarily on passing. With an already struggling Tagovailoa, this decision hurt Alabama’s chances at keeping the red-hot Clemson offense off of the field and may have damaged their chances of a possible comeback.

These poor performances and coaching decisions may still not have been enough to change the outcome of the game, as Clemson’s high-powered offense led by freshman quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, looked as though no team could stop them. Lawrence’s ability to make good decisions and to stand in the pocket to make difficult throws were showcased during the fourth matchup of the two teams in the CFP era. Lawrence finished the game 20-32 with 347 yards, 3 TD and 0 INT, according to ESPN. With his stellar performance on the biggest stage, Lawrence was given the offensive MVP honors for the game.

Both Tagovailoa and Lawrence will not be eligible for the 2019 NFL Draft and will return to their respective Universities. Does this mean Bama’ vs Clemson round five? We will have to wait and see.