Behind The Scoreboard

Rematch for championship

It’s Alabama versus Clemson – the rematch – in the 2017 College Football Playoff national championship game on Jan. 9.

The undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide suffocated the Washington Huskies in the Peach Bowl 24-7 on Saturday to advance to the national championship.

The Crimson Tide head coach, Nick Saban, will be seeking his fifth national title in the last eight years at Alabama. With a remarkable record like that, Saban is considered one of the greatest coaches in college football history.

The Tide (14-0) finished the Huskies off by scoring 10 points off turnovers, including Ryan Anderson’s interception return for a touchdown late in the first half. This was Alabama’s 11th defensive touchdown of the season. Bo Scarbrough had a 68-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

It was a great turnaround season for Washington after struggling much of the last two decades. But Jake Browning and the Huskies’ high-powered offense was no match for Alabama’s top-ranked defense, even after an impressive drive that gave them an early 7-0 lead.

Then, Clemson blanked Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl 31-0 for a rematch with Alabama. This was one of the worst losses for the Buckeyes (since losing to USC by 32 in 2008) and perhaps the worst loss of coach Urban Meyer’s career.

Deshaun Watson, a junior and Heisman Trophy runner-up, ran for two touchdowns and threw another. He also passed for 259 yards and ran for 57 against the Buckeyes.

The Tigers have won five of their six bowls as underdogs, including the win over Ohio State. Watson will try to lead Clemson to its first national title since 1981.

So, get ready for a sequel.  The top-ranked Crimson Tide will take on the third-ranked Clemson Tigers in a do-over of last season’s championship game, a 45-40 thriller won by Alabama.  

Once again, Alabama is favored for the national championship title.

But the Tigers have always looked like the potentially toughest matchup for Alabama. Clemson has the defensive line, the dual-threat quarterback, and a number of offensive wea­pons to threaten the Tide.

Still again, this is an Alabama team that leads the nation in total defense, rushing defense and defensive touchdowns. One could say that this might be Saban’s best defense ever. It’s certainly the fastest and most athletic. If Saban claims another title, he will join Bear Bryant as the only coaches to win six titles in the poll era.

In the NFL news, the Denver Broncos might be searching for another head coach. Multiple league sources are reporting that Gary Kubiak is likely stepping down due to health concerns.

Holly Springs South Reporter

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