SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The No. 1 Alabama football team fell against No. 2 Clemson, 44-16, in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship Game in Levi’s Stadium Monday night in Santa Clara, Calif. The Crimson Tide ends the season at 14-1, while the Tigers finish at 15-0.
Sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa finished the game 22-of-34 for 295 yards to go along with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Sophomore wide out Jerry Jeudy ended the contest with five catches for 139 yards and a score.
On defense, sophomore defensive back Xavier McKinney had seven tackles and a pass breakup, while junior linebacker Mack Wilson and senior defensive end Isaiah Buggs each had six tackles.
Alabama opened on defense, forcing Clemson into a three-and-out. On the Tide’s third offensive play, Tagovailoa was picked off by A.J. Terrell who took the ball 44 yards for a touchdown. Clemson led 7-0 with 13:20 on the first quarter clock.
Tagovailoa quickly bounced back with a 62-yard touchdown strike to Jeudy to cap a three-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Redshirt freshman Joseph Bulovas’ extra point tied the game at 7-7 with 12:05 remaining in the opening quarter.
A minute and a half later the Tigers found the end zone after connecting for a 62-yard pitch-and-catch of their own before finishing off the drive with a 17-yard rush from Travis Etienne to take the 14-7 with 10:35 on the clock.
Alabama battled back by going on a methodical 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, with Tagovailoa finding senior tight end Hale Hentges wide open in the back of the end zone for the one-yard score. Bulovas’ extra point was no good, giving the Tigers a 14-13 advantage with 6:23 to go in the first.
Following a Clemson three-and-out, the Tide took the 16-14 lead with 14:18 remaining in the second quarter after Bulovas converted a 25-yard field goal to cap an 11-play, 45-yard drive.
The Tigers answered by driving 65 yards in 11 plays, capped by an Etienne one-yard run to put Clemson up 21-16 with 11:38 to go before halftime.
The Tigers got the ball back after Tagovailoa’s second interception was returned 46 yards to the UA 47-yard line. Eight plays later, the Tigers found the end zone for the fourth time in the half when quarterback Trevor Lawrence linked up with Etienne from five yards out to go up 28-16 with 4:38 left before the halftime break.
The Tigers extended their lead to 31-16 and carried the lead into the half after a 36-yard field goal with 45 seconds to go.
In the first half, Alabama outgained Clemson 266-224 while controlling the ball for 19:26 of the first 30 minutes of action.
Alabama drove the ball down the field to begin the second half but came up empty after a fake field goal attempt failed. On the ensuing Clemson drive, the Tigers connected for a 74-yard touchdown throw to go up 37-16 with 8:26 left in the third quarter. Later in the third, CU went on a 12-play, 89-yard drive capped by a five-yard throw-and-catch to push the lead to 44-16 with 21 seconds in the quarter.
The two sides traded possessions in the final quarter, with no further scoring.