SANTA CLARA, CA (FOX Carolina) – The Clemson Tigers are national champions for a third time.
Clemson and Alabama battled for a fourth time with a CFP national championship on the line Monday, with the Tigers getting the upper hand, defeating Alabama 44-16.
The Tigers met the Crimson Tide at Levi’s Stadium to determine which team would become the first since the 1800s to go 15-0 in a single season.
The Clemson Tigers secured the team’s third overall national championship victory, and second with Dabo Swinney as head coach.
The Tigers defeated Alabama in 2016 to earn their second national championship. The program’s first shot at national glory came in 1981.
Alabama won the coin toss but deferred to the second half.
After the Tigers went three and out in the first drive, Clemson's AJ Terrell intercepted a pass in Alabama's first possession and raced 42 yards to the end zone for a pick six to put the Tigers on the board.
Alabama evened the score in the next drive when Jerry Jeudy caught a long pass for the 62-yard touchdown.
Tigers added another 7 in the next drive. Tee Higgins made a 62-yard haul and then Travis Etienne pounded his way 17-yards to the end zone.
Jerry put another touchdown on the board for Alabama after Najee Harris went down at the half yard line. The point-after was no good, leaving Alabama trailing by one point halfway through the first quarter.
Alabama spent the last few minutes deep in the red zone but unable to complete another touchdown.
Tigers were up 14-13 at the end of the first quarter, but seconds into the second quarter, a field goal put Alabama in the lead, 16-14.
Alabama's lead didn't last long. Etienne found a hole in their defense at the goal line, putting another touchdown on the board for the Tigers in the next drive.
Minutes later, Clemson's Trayvon Mullen picked off another interception for a 46-yard return. The Tigers would complete the eight-play, 47-yard drive with another touchdown for Etienne.
Kicker Greg Huegel would add another 3 points for the Tigers when he completed a 26-yard field goal with :45 on the clock in the second quarter.
Clemson led 31-16 at the half. Those 31 points set a new school record for points in the first half of a bowl game.
Clemson's Nyles Pinckney ended Alabama's fake field goal attempt to start the 3rd quarter with Clemson taking over at the 24-yard line. Trevor Lawrence would go on to complete the longest pass play of the season with Justyn Ross, going 74-yards for another Tigers touchdown. Huegel's kick after was no good.
Lawrence would find Higgins in the end zone in the final seconds of the third quarter for another touchdown. The Tigers were up 44-16 heading into the final quarter.
Alabama would start the fourth quarter making it deep into the red zone, but Clemson's defense was able to hold them off.
Neither team would score again in the game's final moments.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence was named the offensive MVP in the game and Travon Mullen was named defensive MVP.
Lawrence completed 20 of 32 pass attempts for 347 yards and three touchdowns during the game.
Mullen had six solo tackles, including a sack, an interception and a forced fumble.