Clemson topples No. 1 Alabama for national title

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — With stunning ease — and a freshman quarterback — Clemson toppled college football’s greatest dynasty again to become the first perfect playoff champion.

Trevor Lawrence passed for 347 yards and three touchdowns and the second-ranked Tigers beat No. 1 Alabama 44-16 on Monday night in the College Football Playoff national championship game.

In the fourth consecutive playoff meeting between the Tigers and Tide, Clemson evened the series and beat ’Bama for the national championship for the second time in three seasons. Clemson is the first team in the AP poll era, dating back to 1936, to finish 15-0, and the first since the playoff started five seasons ago to get through a season unscathed.

“We’re gonna enjoy this one. We’ve got a nice spot to put it in our facility, right next to that other one,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “We’ve got twins!”

Alabama coach Nick Saban and the Tide (14-1) were looking for a sixth national championship in 10 years, trying to add to an already unprecedented run in the sport. Instead, Clemson crushed Alabama, becoming the first opponent to beat the Tide by more than 14 points since Saban became coach in 2007.

Swinney’s Tigers sealed their status as a superpower, no longer just 1A to Alabama’s 1.

“We’re 15-0, we beat the best team ever, nobody’s taking that away from us,” Clemson All-America defensive tackle Christian Wilkins said.