11 January, 2017
The Tide finished 2 of 15 on third downs, and all the three-and-outs led to 99 offensive plays by Clemson and a exhausted Alabama defense late in the game.
The second the Crimson Tide had the ball, Hurts had a 20-yard run around right end and former IMG Academy running back Scarbrough a 25-yard scamper around left end, carrying a Clemson defender into the end zone to open the scoring 5 minutes, 37 seconds into the game. Washington's offense was more highly regarded by the advanced metrics heading into the playoffs than Clemson's, and the Tide absolutely smothered them. To that point, Scarbrough had rushed 16 times for 93 yards and two touchdowns, and he was sorely missed down the stretch of the game as Alabama attempted to keep the clock moving.
Alabama ran for 57 yards after Scarbrough left, but 30 of them came on quarterback Jalen Hurts' touchdown burst to briefly retake the lead with 2:31 remaining.
Scarbrough, who had been inconsistent and injury-riddled during the bulk of the season, became one of the Tide's best weapons late in the year.
106: Receiving yards by Alabama's O.J. Howard on four catches. He's now the only player since the BCS was introduced in 1998 to rush for two touchdowns of at least 25 yards in a national championship game. For the season, he has played in four games for the Crimson Tide as a special teams player.
"I have a high standard for myself", Hurts said. "There hasn't been many times this year when he actually gets a little rattled, and I think that's the thing that's been very helpful to his consistency as a player regardless of where we've played or what the stage has been".
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Whatever the case, it'll be interesting to see how the large-scale test pans out over the next 24 months. In case these people are already receiving unemployment benefits, the amount will be deducted from it.
A natural storyline leading into the game was how Hurts would handle a new voice calling the plays in the biggest game of his life. More importantly, Kiffin's offense was slipping.
Even with its plethora of future National Football League first-rounders, Alabama's defense got taken to the woodshed by Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, who once again proved the Heisman Trophy voting should take place after all postseason games are concluded. Billy Napier is Alabama's wide receivers coach and spent two seasons as Clemson's offensive coordinator in 2009 and 2010 - the youngest coordinator in Clemson history - before Dabo Swinney fired him.
"I think there was things that we could have done better".
"None at all", Hurts said.
Sophomore running back Damien Harris took over the primary duties at running back after Scarbrough left the game but had just five carries for 24 yards. "Whether who is calling the plays, it all comes down to execution". We understand Lane, Alabama will enchant even the best of men.
There were times when Sarkisian tightened the reigns and went ultra conservative, preferring to play the field position game and not providing Clemson with a potential spark.