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Photo: Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports
Posted: Tuesday, 10 January 2017 7:14AM

Clemson captures college football crown



One year after losing to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship game in Arizona, the Clemson Tigers come back to steal the crown from Alabama in dramatic fashion.

Behind the heroics of quarterback Deshaun Watson, Clemson scored a last-second touchdown to take the lead and beat Alabama 35-31 from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

Down 24-14 at the end of the third quarter, Clemson started their comeback just one minute in with a four-yard touchdown pass from Watson to wide receiver Mike Williams.

With 6:33 left to play in the game, Clemson started another scoring drive looking to take their first lead of the night. Watson and Williams reconnected during the drive with a nice 26-yard pass play which included an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Alabama for an additional 15-yards. Two plays later, running back Wayne Gallman punched his ticket into the endzone from 1-yard out to give the Tigers the lead.

Alabama responded with a six play, 68-yard drive in two and a half minutes to re-take the lead with 2:07 to play. The drive was capped off with a 30-yard touchdown run from freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts.

With time running out, Clemson drove back the other way looking for a chance to tie the game and head to overtime. Watson connected on the drive with Williams once again for 24-yards, along with a 17-yard completion to wide receiver Jordan Leggett. With nine seconds to play, Alabama gets flagged for pass interference to set Clemson up at the two-yard line. On the next play, Watson finds wide receiver Justin Renfrow for the go-ahead touchdown with one-second remaining on the clock.

Clemson surprised Alabama with an onside kick and recovered the football to clinch the victory and the championship.

It is Clemson's second college football title in school history, and it is their first title since 1981 when they beat Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.

Following the game, Watson officially declared himself available for the 2017 National Football League Draft. The Draft will be held from April 27 to April 29 from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky had already declared for the NFL Draft earlier in the day.

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