If you had told us that Clemson was going to score 40 points and have over 500 yards total offense, we would have been convinced that Clemson would win the game.
And we would have been wrong.
Such is college football.
Everyone was expecting a low-scoring, defensive battle and instead, we had what looked like a replay of one of those old Holiday Bowls between BYU and San Diego State. Whoa.
We were wishing and hoping for a nice, boring National Championship – you know, the kind where you have a fairly close first quarter but then you can relax with a 15 point lead at halftime and cruise to a 24 point victory, but No. Nothing of the sort was going to happen on Monday night in Glendale, Arizona. Every time you thought the Tide was safely in front, back came those horribly UGLY orange uniforms to score and make the game close again.
Every time you thought things were under control, Deshaun Watson would make another perfect throw or make a seemingly impossible escape from being sacked to gain 15 yards. Misery. He had us on the edge of that vast chasm of Loser Canyon, staring down into the gloom and despair below more than once. The Tigers completely refused to allow us to relax. They were inconsiderate and insensitive – and, if it hadn’t been for three or four great plays by Bama, they would be the National Champs instead of the Tide.
The first big play came with 11:55 left in the first half. The Tigers had just responded to a 50-yard TD run by El Tractorcito by scoring 14 unanswered points to take a 14-7 lead. And they were hot. It looked like Watson was not only going to have a great game, but have one of those Johnny Manziel “I’m-playing-the-greatest-game-in-the-history-of-college-football” games. The Tide defense was tired, confused, and frustrated. But then Watson went back to a “wheel route” that had been successful earlier and Eddie Jackson intercepted the ball on the Clemson 42 – and from there Alabama proceeded to tie the game 14-14 on a 1-yard D. Henry run.
The second huge play came after Alabama had lost another 7 point lead and had come back to tie the game at 24 all. The Tide was kicking off and an amazing thing happened – Coach Vanilla (the so-called “boringest coach” in college football) ordered an onside kick . . . and it was recovered (actually caught in the air) by Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey at midfield. From there, on a second and 13, Coker found O.J. Howard wide open for a 51-yard TD putting the Tide ahead once and for all. It was what they call a “Turning Point.”
The third extremely large play came after Clemson had cut the lead to 4 points (31-27) when Kenyon Drake took the ensuing kickoff and sprinted 95 yards for another touchdown, giving the Tide an 11-point lead – the first two-score lead of the game. And, it proved to be vital as Clemson scored again a little over two minutes later, to cut the lead to 5.
Then came the fourth gigantic play of the night. The Champs had a second and 12 at their own 23 with 4:00 left. Clemson had what the announcers call, momentum. The Tide D had not been able to stop them all night and it looked as though they were going to get the ball back in time to make one final drive for the victory. It looked that way that is, until Jake Coker hit O.J. Howard again on what was basically a lateral that O.J. turned into a 65-yard run (to the Clemson 13) – from whence the Champs scored their final (and, as it turned out) also necessary touchdown with a little more than a minute to go in the game. So that when Clemson again scored a minute later, the Tide still clung to a 5-point lead and only had to recover an onside kick to secure the victory.
And finally the game was over.
And Alabama had won its twelfth game in a row, its fourth National Championship in seven years and its sixteenth over all.
Take a deep breath, y’all.
What just happened here is remarkable.
And, in case your wondering how to spell it, yes, there is a “y” in Dynasty.
So, in the end, after all the worry and fretting, after all the cries of dismay and a few moments of sheer terror, it all worked out for the best. Indeed, it was beautiful, delightful. marvelous, stupendous, yea, even Monstrous Fine. And we feel privileged to have gotten to share it with y’all.
Now it’s time to celebrate the fact that the College Football World is back to normal again. The Universe is balanced once more. The Stars are aligned properly. So. It’s time for y’all to get one of them Family Paks of Extra-Crispy Chicken (with a side of fried okra and tater salad) and enjoy the blessing of hot grease without worrying about the cholesterol! The Tide are once again the reigning National Champs. Huzzzah!
And, from all of us here at the IFHQ* we say one last time as we close out this super-fabulicious season:
Roll Tide, y’all!
[*The International Fan Headquarters]