Alabama, Clemson meet in College Football Playoff championship game | News Coverage from USA

Alabama, Clemson meet in College Football Playoff championship game

Live updates from the College Football Playoff championship game between Alabama and Clemson from Santa Clara, California:

Clemson cashes in off the turnover

The Tigers extended their lead to 28-16 with 4:38 left in the second quarter on a 5-yard shuffle pass from Trevor Lawrence to Travis Etienne. Clemson only needed to drive 47 yards after its second interception of Tua Tagovailoa gave them a short field. Big drive coming up for Alabama, especially with the Tide getting the ball at the start of the second half. Can get two consecutive possessions here if they play things right.

Another pick for Tagovailoa

Alabama’s quarterback has been mostly spectacular but his misses Monday have been spectacular. After an earlier interception was returned for a touchdown, the sophomore tried to go deep into double coverage midway through the second quarter. It was intercepted by Trayvon Mullen and Clemson takes over the Tide 47 after a nice return.

Tennis match being played in Santa Clara

And just like that Clemson has taken the lead. It took six plays for the Tigers to go 65 yards capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Travis Etienne. The big play was a screen from Trevor Lawrence to Tavien Feaster that put them in scoring position. We’ll see if the Clemson defense can force its first punt with the score 21-16 and 11:38 left in the second quarter.

Alabama back out front

A quick stop of the Tigers got the ball back for the Tide. Their drive inside the 5 stalled out, and Joseph Bulova hits a 25-yard field goal to put Alabama ahead 16-14 on Clemson with 14:18 left in the second quarter.

End of first quarter

Clemson leads, but not for long. Alabama is threatening inside the Tigers 5 at the end of the first 15 minutes. So far, the Tide has been unstoppable on offense except for an interception thrown by Tua Tagovailoa on its first possession. He bounced back well and ends the 15 minutes at 11-of-13 for 157 yards and two touchdowns. Still, it’s Clemson 14, Alabama 13.

We’re almost even

Alabama is back in the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Tua Tagovailoa to Hale Hentges on a drive set up by some efficient passes from the Tide quarterback and a running game that is having its way against the Clemson front. The lone problem? Joseph Bulova missed the extra point. Tigers hold 14-13 advantage with 6:23 left in the first quarter.

Clemson gets its offense rolling

Trevor Lawrence looked shaky early which is understandable for a true freshman. But he soon made his mark on the game with a laser strike to Tee Higgins for 62 yards on a third-and-14. Travis Etienne then went around left end for a 17-yard touchdown on the next play and the Tigers are up 14-7 with less than five minutes gone in the first quarter.

And Alabama quickly responds

Tua Tagovailoa didn’t let an interception returned for a touchdown get him down. His next throw after Alabama started with two runs on the next drive found Jerry Jeudy running free down the middle of the field. The 62-yard score tied things up at 7-7 with 12:05 left in the first quarter.

Clemson strikes first with a huge defensive play

Tua Tagovailoa looked settled in with two early completions for 20 yards. But on his third throw, the Clemson defense fooled him by jumping a short route. A.J. Terrell made the interception and returned the ball 44 yards for a touchdown. 

It’s 7-0 Clemson with 13:20 left in the first quarter.

Tigers fail to get going

A good start for the Alabama defense as it forces a three-and-out by Clemson. Trevor Lawrence’s first pass to the flat was batted down and his third-and-7 attempt sailed past Hunter Renfrow. Tide takes over on its 20.

Coin toss complete

Alabama wins the toss and defers its option to the second half. That means Clemson and freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence get the ball first.

Kickoff coming shortly. 

Game preview

Call it Round 4. And Round 3 in the College Football Playoff championship game.

Alabama and Clemson meet again Monday in the fourth consecutive postseason. The showdown in Santa Clara, California, comes after they split two previous matchups in the title game in the 2015 and 2016 season. Alabama won last year’s semifinal. 

This will be the third title in four years if the Tide prevail and second in three seasons for the Tigers should they win. If history holds, this should be another memorable and close matchup between the teams. The previous two title games were decided by less than a touchdown. 

Whichever team wins will also become the first team in the modern era of college football to finish its season with a 15-0 record.

STAFF PICKS: Who wins the title game between Alabama, Clemson

KEYS TO VICTORY: How Alabama and Clemson win the title game

NEED TO KNOW: Breaking down the Alabama-Clemson matchup

Clemson stars make it to California

Former Tigers stars Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins both play together with the Houston Texans. With their team knocked out of the playoffs this past weekend in the NFL wild card round, they decided go support their alma mater.

Watson is also serving as honorary captain.

Nikki Haley in attendance

The former United States ambassador to the United Nations graduated from Clemson and was also governor of South Carolina. Having resigned her job at the end of the last year, she made the trek west to support her alma mater.

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