Give Clemson all of the credit, especially DC Brent Venables. The Tide had the talent advantage on that side, as evidenced by the 6+ YPP average, but Venables pushed all the right buttons. He flat-out baited Tua into two really ugly interceptions, one of which went back to the house. Coming out of the half, the Tide had three possessions that gained 51, 59, and 66 yards, but each time was turned away with no points. Clemson freshman Justin Ross scored the dagger on a play when Saivion Smith suffered what looked like a pretty severe lower leg injury, and then followed it up with a couple more big plays against replacement Josh Jobe.
Football often comes down to turnovers and red zone efficiency, and that’s exactly what happened tonight. Alas, Clemson handed Alabama not only the worst loss of the Saban era, but the worst since that awful 1998 Music City Bowl against Virginia Tech. Alabama’s seniors will now get to share their legacy with Clemson’s group, which matched them in total wins, head to head, and national titles tonight.
There is a ton of talent returning and a typically stellar recruiting class coming in. We’re now left to see what Saban has in store going forward.