The Other McCain

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#RollTide: Alabama Crimson Tide Defeats Clemson 45-40 for National Title

Posted on | January 11, 2016 | 23 Comments


Defense wins football games. Senior linebacker Reggie Ragland (above) and his University of Alabama teammates know this, and they face a tough challenge against the undefeated #1-ranked Clemson Tigers in the BCS championship game. Never mind anything else the analysts and commentators tell you. If ‘Bama’s defense can stop the Tigers, the Crimson Tide will win tonight.

The game may be decided in the first quarter. Clemson’s high-scoring offense has been held to less than 24 points only twice during the past season, against Louisville Sept. 17 and against Florida State Nov. 7. But Alabama has only given up 24 points once, in their 43-37 loss to Ole Miss Sept. 19, and the Crimson Tide’s defense was untouchable in their 38-0 shutout of Michigan State in the Dec. 31 Cotton Bowl. Because Clemson usually expects to score a lot of points, if Alabama can keep the Tigers off the scoreboard during the first quarter, this will give the Crimson Tide a huge psychological edge. (Trash talk, Clemson?)

Stopping Clemson will not be easy, of course. Their quarterback, Deshaun Watson, threw for 3,699 yards and 31 touchdowns this year and — perhaps more importantly — Watson also ran for 1,032 yards and 12 touchdowns. Watson is a very dangerous threat, and the Alabama defense will have its hands full. But the Crimson Tide’s defensive front line is the best in college football. ‘Bama rotates eight players in a three-man front, and seldom uses more than one linebacker in pass rush, keeping seven men in coverage. If the Tide defense can shut down Clemson’s running game and force Watson into 3rd-and-long situations, Alabama should make the Tigers pay a price in sacks and interceptions.

Alabama’s offense, of course, has the Heisman winner Derrick Henry at running back, and if it were up to me, the play-calling would be “Henry right, Henry left, Henry up the middle” until Clemson shows they can stop the run. But Coach Nick Saban also has a very good, but underrated quarterback in Jake Coker, who has thrown for 2,775 yards and 19 TDs. Coker had the best game of his career against Michigan State, throwing for 286 yards and two touchdowns.

Still, the key for the Tide will be defense. Defense wins football games.

UPDATE: Derrick Henry ran 50 yards for a touchdown. Alabama 7, Clemson 0.

UPDATE II: Capping a 91-yeard drive helped by a pass interference penalty, Watson threw 31 yards for a touchdown.

Alabama 7, Clemson 7. Damn it.

UPDATE III: Clemson ends the first quarter with a 73-yard drive, concluding with an 11-yard touchdown pass by Watson.

Clemson 14, Alabama 7. Damn it.

UPDATE IV: Eddie Jackson intercepted a Watson pass at the Clemson 42, and seven plays later, Derrick Henry ran for his second touchdown with 9:35 remaining in the first half.

Alabama 14, Clemson 14.

UPDATE V: A blown coverage assignment by a Clemson safety left Alabama receiver O.J. Howard wide open on the sideline, and Jake Coker hit him for a 53-yard touchdown pass with 12:53 left in the third quarter.

Alabama 21, Clemson 14.

UPDATE VI: Clemson forced to settle for a field goal.

Alabama 21, Clemson 17.

UPDATE VII: Clemson drives 60 yards in 9 plays and scores a touchdown on a 1-yard run by Wayne Gallman with 4:48 remaining in the third quarter.

Clemson 24, Alabama 21. Damn it.

UPDATE VIII: Alabama settles for a field goal.

Alabama 24, Clemson 24.

UPDATE IX: WOW! WOW! Alabama 31, Clemson 24.

UPDATE X: Clemson gets a field goal with 7:47 left in the game.

Alabama 31, Clemson 27.

UPDATE XI: Alabama’s Kenyan Drake returns the kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown.

Alabama 38, Clemson 27.

UPDATE XII: Deshaun Watson and the Tigers don’t quit. Clemson scores a touchdown on a 15-yard Watson pass, tries for a two-point conversion and misses.

Alabama 38, Clemson 33.

UPDATE XIII: Exciting touchdown drive! Coker hit O.J. Howard on a swing pass and Howard raced 63 yards down the sideline. Coker ran for a first down at the Clemson 3-yard line and then, on 3rd-and-goal from the 1, Derrick Henry plunged over for the touchdown.

Alabama 45, Clemson 33.

UPDATE XIV: Clemson gets a touchdown pass, then unsuccessfully attempts an onside kick.

FINAL: Alabama 45, Clemson 40.



  • Mike G.

    Go Tigers!

  • Mike G.

    36 yard pass from Watson to Renfro…tie game.

  • Mike G.

    Watson to Renfro again for TD after Bama missed FG. 14-7 Tighers.

  • Mike G.

    After interception, Bama ties game at 14 a piece.

  • Mike G.

    Whew~~~ What a game! Tied at the half.

  • Mike G.

    It was a good game. Kudos to Bama, Clemson didn’t quit and had a chance to pull it out.

  • Fail Burton

    Congratulations to the Scarlet Pimpernels. What a barnburner.

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  • Dana

    Alabama may have won the title, but Kentucky still has the prettiest girls!

  • trangbang68

    Congratulations to the Tide but I like what one Auburn player tweeted: “rooting for Alabama because they’re in the SEC is like rooting for the devil because he’s in the Bible”

  • Dianna Deeley


  • Unix-Jedi

    Clemson had a great game, but gave up 4 big plays that made the difference.

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  • Fail Burton

    Must be the rainy season in Nigeria.

  • Fail Burton

    Not exactly a triumph of TV sport producing. The average Monday Night Football game of the mid-70s had better and more camera angles and they were used to tell a story. The announcers weren’t much better. They were what I’d expect for some low-level bowl game. Together they took an all-time great game and made it as boring and by-the-numbers as possible.

    I noticed the same TV production failure on the Holms-Rousey fight; poorly chosen camera angles, missed opportunities. Is this a lost artform?

  • Mike G.

    Stopping just one of those plays would have made the difference.

    Truth be told, at least from my perspective, Clemson out played Alabama and the stats bear that out.

    But it is what it is. Stats don’t win football games…sometimes its just a matter of a couple of missed tackles or a blown coverage that can win or lose the game.

  • WarEagle82

    That was one of the wildest 4th quarters of football I have ever seen. These two teams played their hearts out.

    The game was reminiscent of the Iron Bowls with Cam Newton and Nick Marshall. The only difference was, this time, ‘Bama managed to stop the quarterback just often enough….

    See you at the Iron Bowl. War Eagle!!!

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  • trangbang68

    War Eagle indeed!

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    TOM took a vacation after the game (ok, its almost tax season for Wombat, but it must be a heck of a hangover to take out Smitty too)

  • marcus tullius cicero

    …Just a good game with a Hollywood ending…

  • Daniel Freeman

    OT: Karen Straughan (Girl Writes What) has some interesting new content on her Owning Your Shit blog. There’s a transcript of a talk she gave on Toxic Masculinity and Toxic Femininity, which is really good; and also her fisking of the feminist response, which I haven’t read yet.

  • NeoWayland

    Thank you for the links. Added the texts to my Evernote file.