ESPN

Tigers Ambush

The sequel was even better than the original. Legends were born as Clemson scored in the final seconds of the 2017 CFP National Championship, stunning Alabama with a thrilling victory.

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lemson and Alabama. A championship rematch was in the forefront of everyone's minds after last year's epic finished with a thrilling, 45-40 Crimson Tide victory. And the rematch delivered. This season's College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T will long be remembered for perhaps the most exciting final five minutes in championship game history.

The Tigers, down throughout the first three quarters to previously undefeated and seemingly invincible Alabama, showed the same resilience they displayed throughout the season behind a strong, physical defense. Then the offense took over, scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter to overcome the Tide.

With all eyes on him, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson made the type of plays expected from a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist on the final drive of his collegiate career. He hit receiver after receiver, bringing the Tigers their first championship since 1981.

During a timeout on that final drive, Watson walked up to his wide receivers and said, "Let's be legendary."

Boy, were they ever.

Watson walks by the team logo on his way out to the field for pregame warm-ups, while being escorted by a South Carolina state trooper.

Bill Frakes

Sitting on the Alabama bench, Steve Sarkisian takes stock of Raymond James Stadium. This is his first game as Alabama's offensive coordinator, replacing Lane Kiffin, who parted ways with the Tide the week before the game to focus on his new gig as Florida Atlantic's head coach.

Andrew Hancock

Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough finds some tough yards before being tackled by Clemson defenders during the first quarter.

Andrew Hancock

Watson, Clemson running back Wayne Gallman and Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans look to recover the ball after Watson fumbles in the first quarter. It would eventually be recovered by Alabama linebacker Ryan Anderson.

Bill Frakes

Starting from his own end zone, Gallman rushes for a 3-yard gain in the first quarter. The Tigers would struggle with field position much of the game. Through the first three quarters, their average starting point was at their own 19-yard line.

Laura Heald

Scarbrough rumbles down the sideline for a 37-yard touchdown to put the Crimson Tide up 14-0 in the second quarter.

Bill Frakes

Clemson wide receiver Hunter Renfrow holds onto the ball as he is hit by Alabama defensive backs Anthony Averett and Tony Brown. Renfrow was a favorite receiver of Watson's with 10 catches in the game.

Andrew Hancock

Clemson fans react to Jordan Leggett's catch at the Alabama 13-yard line that put the Tigers in the red zone for the first time.

Bill Frakes

Reuben Foster and Anderson sack Watson for a loss of 8 yards to bring up fourth down during the second quarter. The Tide defense, which leads the country in sacks this season, would finish with four in the game.

Andrew Hancock

Alabama punter JK Scott unleashes a 57-yard punt, which is fair caught by Clemson returner Artavis Scott at the Tigers' 5-yard line. Scott's 10 punts in the game are the most ever for a Crimson Tide punter since Nick Saban took over as head coach.

Laura Heald

Watson gets a pass off just before Anderson and Foster get to him during the second quarter.

Laura Heald

Clemson wide receiver Deon Cain holds onto the ball for a 14-yard catch over Alabama defensive back Ronnie Harrison during the third quarter.

Andrew Hancock

Renfrow looks to find space as he breaks for the end zone on this 24-yard touchdown catch.

Andrew Hancock

Alabama tight end O.J. Howard runs away from Clemson safety Van Smith for a 68-yard touchdown reception while Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney looks on in disbelief. Howard now has three 50-or-more-yard touchdown receptions against the Tigers after scoring two in last year's championship game.

Laura Heald

Watson gets a pass off as a diving Evans reaches out for the ball during the fourth quarter.

Laura Heald

Tigers fans react to a 4-yard touchdown catch by Mike Williams, bringing the Tigers back within three points at 24-21.

Laura Heald

Saban reacts to Watson completing a third-down pass to Renfrow, keeping the Clemson drive alive. Prior to Monday, Saban had never lost a double-digit lead entering the fourth quarter.

Bill Frakes

Williams floats in the air to grab the ball as Alabama defensive back Marlon Humphrey tries to knock it away. A subsequent unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Alabama sets the Tigers up at the Crimson Tide 16-yard line.

Andrew Hancock

Watson leaps over Harrison toward the end zone. He is marked out at the 4-yard line.

Bill Frakes

Gallman celebrates with Williams after Williams' 4-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter.

Bill Frakes

Williams goes up for a catch of 24 yards over Averett on the final drive of the game. Williams, who sat out much of last season with a broken neck, finishes the game with eight catches for 94 yards.

Bill Frakes

Watson readies himself to throw under the combined pressure of the Alabama defensive front seven breathing down his neck and time running out in the fourth quarter.

Bill Frakes

Renfrow catches the game-winning touchdown pass past the outstretched arms of Brown. Renfrow, a former walk-on, has 11 career receiving touchdowns, with four coming in national championship games against Alabama.

Bill Frakes

Clemson linebacker James Skalski is overcome with emotion after the Tigers defeat the Crimson Tide 35-31. The win marks the Tigers' first national championship since 1981.

Andrew Hancock

Linebacker Ben Boulware kisses the College Football Playoff trophy after being named defensive MVP for the victorious Tigers.

Andrew Hancock

Swinney celebrates on stage after defeating his alma mater, Alabama.

Bill Frakes

Watson walks off the field through a crowd of fans, media and security for the last time in a Tigers uniform after defeating Alabama and earning offensive MVP honors.

Bill Frakes

Isaiah Simmons packs up his gear in the locker room amid all the celebration.

Andrew Hancock

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