Clemson are national champs: Tigers defeat Alabama in last minute shock victory

By ASSOCIATED PRESS

Clemson University Tigers have been crowned national college football champions after recording a last minute shock victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Tigers’ quarterback Deshaun Watson scored a last minute two-yard touchdown pass with just one second remaining giving his side a 35-31 win.

The win stopped Alabama in their tracks from winning an unprecedented fifth national championship in eight seasons.

 The Tigers won their first national championship since 1981 (pictured, Clemson players celebrating)

When it ended Clemson's 315-pound defensive lineman Christian Wilkins did a cartwheel and Ben Boulware (center), one of the toughest linebackers in the country, was in tears

Clemson Tigers wide receiver Artavis Scott does a celebratory dance in front of the crowd at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa 

It comes after Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has built an elite program at the university that was missing only one thing.

But now the Tigers can check that box after winning their first national championship since 1981.

The Tigers took a 28-24 lead with four minutes left in the fourth quarter when Wayne Gallman surged in from a yard out.

The Tide’s offense, which had gone dormant for most of the second half, came to life with the help of a sweet call from newly promoted offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.

Receiver ArDarius Stewart took a backward pass from Jalen Hurts and fired a strike to O.J. Howard for 24 yards.

Head coach Dabo Swinney and embraces Deshaun Watson who scored a last minute touchdown to seal the title 

Coach Swinney, pictured kissing the national championship trophy after his side beat Alabama Crimson Tide 

On the next play, Hurts broke free from a collapsing pocket and weaved his way through defenders for a 30-yard touchdown run to make it 31-28 with 2:07 left.

More than enough time for Watson, who hooked up with Mike Williams and Jordan Leggett for great catches and big gains to get to first-and-goal.

A pass interference on Alabama made it first-and-goal at the two with six seconds left. Time for one more play to avoid a tying kick and potential overtime.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney (center) reacts during the second half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Alabama

At the end of the game, Swinney looked to the ground in disbelief after his side won the championship 

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney celebrates with Ben Boulware, who was in tears after the victory (right)

Renfrow slipped away from the defense at the goal line and was alone for an easy toss. It was the walk-on receiver’s second TD catch of the night, adding to the two he had last season against Alabama.

When it ended Clemson’s 315-pound defensive lineman Christian Wilkins did a cartwheel and Ben Boulware, one of the toughest linebackers in the country, was in tears.

The Tigers snapped Alabama’s 26-game winning streak and beat a number one team for the first time ever.

Clemson's Deshaun Watson (left) celebrates a last second touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow (13) during the second half of the college football playoff championship game against Alabama

Clemson's Deshaun Watson celebrates a touchdown with teammate Christian Wilkins (42)

Watson  is tackled short of the first down by linebacker Reuben Foster #10 and defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick #29 of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the third quarter

Alabama's Dalvin Tomlinson walks off the field after his team was denied an unprecedented fifth championship in eight seasons

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