Clemson Dominates Alabama to Win National Championship, Harden Leads Rockets

Grace Higgins | January 8th, 2019

Well, that was fast. All it took was one dominant 44-16 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide to get people to start talking about how it was the Clemson Tigers’ time to be a dynasty, thus surpassing the Tide. While that may well be the case, wasn’t that already a well-known fact that both teams were far and above everyone else? Ahead of Monday night’s National Championship Game, the two teams had each made it to the College Football Playoff each of the last four seasons. There might have been something on paper separating them in the eyes of many, but in reality the gap was quite small. On the field, though, it proved to be rather large as Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne led the Tigers to a commanding win.

The game started off with a flurry of scoring action, with both teams’ offenses getting on the board in a back-and-forth first quarter than ended 14-13 to Clemson. Soo after, though, it became abundantly clear who was going to take control. It was the Tigers, who on the back of two TD’s from Etienne in the second quarter (making it three for the game in the first half), took a big 31-16 lead into the break. In the third quarter, they kept their foot down on the pedal and added 13 more points, as their defense failed to let Alabama score a single time the rest of the way. Lawrence, for his part, had a sterling night to complete his freshman season, throwing for 347 yards and three touchdowns on 20 of 32 in the air. He didn’t look much like a freshman at all, and it reflects in the score line. Tua Tagovailoa, on the other hand, struggled against the Tigers all night. He was pikced off twice, with the second one being particularly bad as he just threw without looking straight into the hands of a Clemson defender. Alabama were desperate before that, going for it on fourth down in their own territory. They were desperate in the second half as they faked a field goal. It just wasn’t the Tide’s night; it was all about Clemson, who became the first team in over 100 years to win 15 games in a season. Just wow. They could do it all again, too. Would anyone be surprised?

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Elsewhere, James Harden was doing, well, what only James Harden could do. Against one of the best teams in the league, a breakout team in the Denver Nuggets, the Beard led his Houston Rockets to victory. He collected 32 points and a gargantuan 14 rebounds as well as the Nuggets tried every possible defense they could think of to try and stifle him. And it was to no avail. He just kept sinking shot after shot or making the right pass at the right time in the 125-113 home victory. With the sort of play he is producing, Houston are a legitimate title contender. And they are closing in more and more on the top spot out West, with only 3.5 games separating them from Denver now after their eighth win from the last ten.

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