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Clemson wins the 2017 National Championship

Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers came close last year, but were on a mission to become national champions this season, and mission accomplished.

With a 14-0 lead and their defense holding very strong the Alabama Crimson Tide seemed well on their way to extending their dynasty. But Deshaun Watson and the Clemson Tigers were sick of the sour taste that was left in their mouth last year.

Watson threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns while leading the Tigers back twice in the fourth quarter to earn a 35-31 victory over Alabama, capturing the school’s second national championship in history and first since 1981.

Watson had multiple changed in the fourth quarter to finally get Clemson ahead after digging themselves in an early whole in the game. Third time was a charm for Clemson. The Tigers quickly went down the field after their defense forced a three-and-out. Watson hit Jordan Leggett down the field for a 17-yard gain. Then he toss the ball down the field to Mike Williams for a 26 yard game before an unsportsmanlike conduct call on Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne gave Clemson another 15 yards. From the 16-yard line, Watson nearly pulled a Vince Young as he bolted to the endzone down the right sideline. He hurdled an Alabama player on the run but was pushed out at the one yard line. Wayne Gallman capped off the drive with the touchdown.

That gave Clemson their first lead of the game, putting them ahead 28-24.

But after the veteran Watson came up huge, rookie Jalen Hurts came up big for the Crimson Tide. A fourth down conversion by Damien Harris on a left-side run and a trick play where wide receiver ArDarius Stewart found OJ Howard down the field for a 24-yard game set the Crimson Tide up 30 yards away from the endzone.

Hurts needed only one play. As the Clemson linebackers spread out on the field, Hurts tucked the ball in his arm, sprinted up the field, found a down-field block and weaved past another Clemson defender to go into the endzone. Just like that, Alabama was back ahead.

Watson wasn’t letting up, though. He wasn’t getting beaten by Alabama again. He hit Williams down the sideline again, found Jordan Leggett for a huge gain and then found the unlikely hero Hunter Renfrow for the game-winning touchdown with only one second remaining.

Renfrow has been huge on the biggest stage

Renfrow, who was always seen as too small and too slow, finished the game with 10 receptions for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Last year he had two touchdowns in the National Championship game as well. It just makes it perfect that a walk-on would be the won to take out the highly-touted and lauded Crimson Tide team that was viewed as the sure championship pick.

Sark seamlessly took over as offensive coordinator

One of the biggest concerns for Alabama heading into the national championship game was the dismissal of Lane Kiffin as their offensive coordinator and promotion of Steve Sarkisian. That sort of massive change to an offense while heading into a national championship game was a huge risk but it had no negative effect on the game. The Crimson Tide offense looked just as good as they had all year, Sark even threw out some interesting trick plays at the end. Moving forward, Alabama has no worries about who is running their offense.

Deshaun Watson declares for the NFL draft

It’s a surprise in no way, after winning the national championship Deshaun Watson announced he will declare for the NFL draft and forgo his senior season at Clemson. There is nothing left for the man to do. Maybe sticking around to win a Heisman Trophy could have been a goal, but he dominated the ACC the past two years as the Tigers starter, went to the National Championship last year and hoisted that trophy over his head this year while clearly being the best quarterback in the country.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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