Clemson routs Alabama 44-16 to win national title

The Clemson Tigers routed the Alabama Crimson Tide 44-16 on Monday night to win the College Football Playoff National Championship.

The victory at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, represents Clemson’s second national title in three seasons, with both wins coming over Alabama.

Clemson’s defense started the game off strong, with sophomore cornerback A.J. Terrell picking off Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for a 44-yard pick six on the Crimson Tide’s first offensive series of the game.

From there, the game stayed close, with Alabama even taking a 16-14 lead early in the second quarter, before Clemson scored 17 unanswered points to go up 31-16 at the half.

The Tigers stretched that streak to 30 straight points to claim a 44-16 lead by the end of the third quarter.

Freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who was named offensive MVP, led the Tigers with 20 of 32 passing for 347 yards and three touchdowns, while sophomore running back Travis Etienne added two touchdowns on 86 yards rushing.

Freshman wide receiver Justyn Ross led the Tigers in receiving with six catches for 153 yards, including 74 on a third-quarter touchdown, while sophomore Tee Higgins caught three for 81 yards and a touchdown of his own.

Clemson cornerback Trayvon Mullen, who had a 46-yard interception and a sack, was named defensive MVP.

Tagovailoa, the offensive MVP of last year’s title game, ended the game with 295 yards passing and two interceptions to go along with two touchdowns, including a 62-yard touchdown to sophomore wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, who finished with 139 yards on five catches.

The teams have now met four straight years in the playoffs, with each laying claim to two national titles during that time.

Alabama came back to beat Clemson to win the national title following the 2015 season, only to to be beat by Clemson in the title game the following year.

Then last year the two teams met up in the College Football Playoff semifinal game at the Sugar Bowl, with No. 4 Alabama upsetting the top-ranked Tigers on their way to their fifth title in nine seasons.