When Alabama took a 14-0 lead at the beginning of the second quarter during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday night, how many of you thought Clemson was going to be able to come back and make the game competitive, let alone win? Ha. Don’t lie. No one thought it was going to happen, and truth be told, 14-0 may as well have been 35-0 at that point.
But Clemson—led by their star quarterback Deshaun Watson—did start staging a comeback a short time later, and by the end of the contest, it was anybody's game.
Watson ran for a touchdown to make the score 14-7 before half, threw for another touchdown midway through the third quarter to make it 17-14, and threw for another TD at the start of the fourth to pull Clemson back to within 24-21 after Alabama freshman QB Jalen Hurts hit an impressive 68-yard TD of his own. And then, after some back-and-forth scoring throughout the fourth quarter, Watson threw for his third TD of the game with just one second remaining on the clock and his team trailing by three points to give Clemson a 35-31 lead and, eventually, a CFP National Championship Game victory.
Watson finished the game—and more than likely, his collegiate career—with 36 completions on 56 attempts for 420 yards and the aforementioned three TDs against Alabama. He also ran for 43 yards on 21 attempts and somehow managed to survive this hit, which pretty much epitomized what he had to deal with from the Alabama defense all night long:
And when it was all over, Watson was predictably overcome with emotion. He said he was "speechless" during his postgame interview:
Most of the people who watched the game, including quite a few college and pro players, were left speechless by what Watson was able to do, too. Those outside the state of Alabama were happy to see Watson—who was named the offensive player of the game after it ended—get a win, especially after he and the Tigers came so close to upsetting Alabama in last season’s CFP National Championship Game:
Many fans were also already predicting that Watson’s legendary performance will help his NFL Draft stock in the spring:
And while that remains to be seen, one thing is for sure: Watson once told the world exactly what he was going to do one day if and when he ever got the opportunity to play in a national championship game...
...then, he told everyone again...
And although he came up short last season, he more than made up for it in 2017. What a special performance from a special athlete.