What to Watch – Clemson vs Alabama IV

Check in with MIKEDROPSPORTS each day to read about what to watch in the world of sports that day/night, with fun facts about each game.

CFB Playoffs National Championship Game -Clemson Tigers (14-0) vs Alabama (Crimson Tide)

Yes, it’s the fourth straight year and yes, it’s the third time in four years it’s the Championship game. But who cares?! In 2018, these teams proved to be a tier above the rest of the competition and this is the championship game that college football fans deserve.

So what if ticket sales are struggling in Santa Clara or if prices keep dipping? That’s not the fault of these teams and that’s not a sign that fans don’t care. That’s a sign that Santa Clara probably shouldn’t be a championship site for a while. It’s a town with no proven college football background and obviously travel is difficult for fans. Maybe it’s not that fans are sick of the matchup, but that since their teams’ victories last weekend there was a realization that between flights across country and hotels last minute, that it wasn’t economically feasible.

Maybe we have seen this game a few times. But we’ve never seen Tua Tagovailoa go up against Trevor Lawrence. And that QB matchup alone is enough reason for me. If you need more reasons there is Clemson RB Travis Etienne and the dozens of draft prospects on both defenses.

Alabama vs Clemson Series history

Alabama has a 2-1 edge the last three years, but all-time the Tide have beaten Clemson 14 times to 4. Clemson won the first three meetings in 1900, 1904, and 1905, by an average score of 26-0. Alabama would go on to win 12 in a row prior to their 2016 National title game meeting.

2016 National Championship – Alabama won 45-40

2017 National Championship – Clemson won 35-31

2018 Sugar Bowl (CFB Playoff Semifinals) – Alabama won 24-6

5 Numbers to Know

113 – Over the last three years, Clemson’s leading running back in each game (Wayne Gallman and Travis Etienne) combined for 113 yards TOTAL yards. In 2018, Etienne was 5th in the nation in rushing yards (1,572) and getting him going is an absolute must for Clemson to have a chance to win.

40 – Trevor Lawrence’s career high for pass attempts is 40, which he did in a win over Boston College. Clemson QBs have averaged 46 pass attempts per game the last three years.

69.5 – That is Tua Tagovailoa’s 5th ranked completion percentage

178 – The number of points allowed by Clemson’s defense in 14 games in 2018, an average of 13.7 (ranked second nationally); Alabama has given up 193 total, 14.8 ppg.

4 – The number of interceptions each QB, Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence have thrown this season

Stat to Know

4 is also the number of touchdown passes Clemson WR Hunter Renfrow has caught in 2 National Championship games vs Alabama. Throughout all three games, Renfrow has 22 catches, 211 yards, and 4 TDs.

NFL Prospects

Here’s a list of guys who have moved on to the NFL from the previous three years worth of matchups

Alabama: RBs Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake; TE OJ Howard; WR Calvin Ridley, Robert Foster; OL Ryan Kelly, Cam Robinson; CBs Marlon Humphrey, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cyrus Jones; DL -A’Shawn Robinson, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Dalvin Tomlinson, Da’shawn Hand; LB – Rashaan Evans, Reggie Ragland, Reuben Foster; S – Eddie Jackson, Ronnie Harrison

Clemson: QB Deshaun Watson, RB Wayne Gallman, WR Mike Williams, TE Jordan Leggett

Plenty of NFL prospects will come out of this game too.

For Clemson, some players to watch include defensive linemen Clellin Ferrell and Christian Wilkins (and DL Dextor Lawrence who is out for this game). For Alabama, watch for OT Jonah Williams, DT Quinnen Williams (who received a Heisman Trophy vote), and LB Raekwon Davis. Obviously both QBs are prospects to watch too, but neither is eligible for the 2019 draft.


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About Mike Schneid 473 Articles
Mike is a member of the FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) and an alum of the University of Cincinnati.

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