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National Championship 2017 final score: Clemson tastes revenge over Bama, 35-31

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Constant updates throughout Alabama-Clemson, and we’ll also add notes and highlights on scores and big plays.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Below is a Twitter list with constant updates from the scene, and above it, we’re throwing in notes on scores and big plays.

Clemson 35, Alabama 31 (final). That’s it. Clemson’s second-ever national title. Dabo Swinney beat Nick Saban. Deshaun Watson got his revenge. More to come.

Clemson 34, Alabama 31 (:01, 4Q). Former walk-on Hunter Renfrow hauled in a two-yard rollout toss from Deshaun Watson after a leisurely Clemson drive toward the red zone that looked like it was setting up a field goal. A clutch, 17-yard catch by Jordan Leggett and a drawn pass interference call by Mike Williams set up the pick play.

Alabama 31, Clemson 28 (2:07, 4Q). Two humongous plays by Jalen Hurts reclaimed the lead for the Tide. First, a 15-yard heave on third-and-16, and then a winding, 30-yard touchdown run. Too much time?

Clemson 28, Alabama 24 (4:38, 4Q). Oh my. A glorious catch by Mike Williams and a sideline run by Deshaun Watson set up a one-yard plunge by Wayne Gallman, and Bama’s got one or two shots to win The Rematch.

Alabama 24, Clemson 21 (6:23, 4Q). Five straight drives have ended with punts, and it keeps feeling like Clemson’s about to break one. A dropped pass on the previous Clemson drive might’ve been the most crucial play of the game so far. Clemson ball.

Alabama 24, Clemson 21 (14:00, 4Q). A nine-play, 72-yard response drive capped with a four-yard fade route from Deshaun Watson to Mike Williams (aided somewhat by a Jordan Leggett pick route that perhaps could’ve been flagged). Watson’s up to 319 total yards and three total TDs.

ESPN

Alabama 24, Clemson 14 (1:47, 3Q). OJ Howard struck again. The surprise tight end hero of last year’s Bama-Clemson game just streaked in for a 68-yard touchdown, giving him more than half of Bama’s receiving yardage on the day on just this one catch. Clemson is gonna despise this guy forever.

ESPN

Alabama 17, Clemson 14 (7:10, 3Q). Hunter Renfrow, the former walk-on who put two touchdowns on Alabama last year, just ran in another, sneaking through traffic for a 24-yarder. It was set up by a nice Deshaun Watson pooch punt, a Bama three-and-out, and an uncharacteristically shaky punt by Bama’s JK Scott. Some rare good field position for Clemson, capitalized upon.

Alabama 17, Clemson 7 (12:25, 3Q). A stripped fumble by Ryan Anderson and a nine-yard grab by 2015 title game hero O.J. Howard set up an easy field goal. Three free points, but a decent stop by Clemson’s defense.

Alabama 14, Clemson 7 (halftime). Both defensive lines are eating, Bama can’t pass, and Clemson can’t run. Deshaun Watson is playing a solid game overall, with 153 yards on 23 passes, and Bo Scarbrough leads the Tide, with 76 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Clemson gets ball to start the second half. Also, the title game has its first meme, from NFL QB Kirk Cousins:

Also:

Alabama 14, Clemson 7 (2:28, 2Q). Two straight ferocious pass rushes by Bama, while rushing four and five players, snuff out a promising Clemson drive that threatened to knot this thing back up.

Alabama 14, Clemson 7 (6:09, 2Q). Got us a ballgame, as Deshaun Watson runs in a keeper for eight yards along the sideline to finish a seven-play drive, highlighted by a 44-yard, weaving screen-and-run by Deon Cain.

Alabama 14, Clemson 0 (10:42, 2Q). Bo Scarbrough’s second TD: a 37-yarder that again showed both his speed and power:

ESPN

Alabama 7, Clemson 0 (end of 1Q). Neither offense is getting much done, but the Tide have the field position advantage and were able to string together enough plays to get points on the board. They also might’ve benefited from a couple of missed targeting calls.

Alabama 7, Clemson 0 (1:50, 1Q). The game’s first turnover: Deshaun Watson missed an errant snap, and Ryan Anderson recovers it. The Tide amounts to a punt, but costs Clemson 40 yards of field position.

Alabama 7, Clemson 0 (2:30, 1Q). Clemson’s first potential momentum swing: a tipped punt setting up a drive near midfield after a Bama drive that lasted nine plays, but somehow only reached the Tide’s 38.

Alabama 7, Clemson 0 (9:23, 1Q). After a three-and-out, Bama stuffed a Clemson fourth-down try, then used two big runs (one each by Jalen Hurts and Bo Scarbrough) to grab the first score, with the latter big run going all the way.

ESPN

No. 1 Alabama takes on No. 2 Clemson for this year’s College Football Playoff National Championship, a rematch of last year’s thrilling 45-40 Alabama victory, and Round 2 could be even better. Nick Saban’s team is going for its fifth title in eight years and the title of greatest dynasty in modern college history, while Dabo Swinney’s Tigers hope to win the school’s second-ever title and avenge last year.

Both teams are coming off of big wins in their semifinal matchups. Alabama defeated Washington handily in a Peach Bowl that was pretty much over in the first half. Clemson beat Ohio State, 31-0, in the Fiesta Bowl semifinal. The Tiger defense was able to shutout Urban Meyer, a first for him as a head coach.

These teams are a little bit different than the ones that played in last year’s game; both still have excellent defenses, of course.

Alabama’s quarterback is true freshman Jalen Hurts, who has played exceptionally well all season, putting the Crimson Tide’s passing offense as No. 2 in the country, per Passing S&P+, though the Tide’s focus remains the ground game. Tide running back Bo Scarbrough had a breakout performance against Washington, rushing for two touchdowns and 180 yards. If that isn’t impressive enough, before that Peach Bowl, Scarbrough was the Tide’s fourth-leading rusher.

Clemson’s offense still boasts quarterback Deshaun Watson, who found immense success last year against Bama, throwing for four touchdowns and 405 yards against the Tide’s defense. But this year, his offense looks even more dangerous, with No. 1 WR Mike Williams enjoying a bounceback year after a 2015 injury.