Photos: Clemson beats Bama for top college football title

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Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) celebrates with linebacker Shaq Smith (5) during the fourth quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) celebrates with linebacker Shaq Smith (5) during the fourth quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Clemson Tigers defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide in a 35-31 turnaround victory to win its first NCAA College Football National Championship in three decades.

Fireworks go off during the National Anthem prior to the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Fireworks go off during the National Anthem prior to the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Pre-game predictions favored the Crimson Tide to win as they rolled into Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Alabama had gone all season without a loss, and for three quarters, the Crimson Tide’s performance honored those expectations.

Alabama Crimson Tide running back Bo Scarbrough (9) scores on a 25 yard touchdown past Clemson Tigers defensive back Ryan Carter (31) and defensive lineman Christian Wilkins (42) in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Crimson Tide running back Bo Scarbrough (9) scores on a 25 yard touchdown past Clemson Tigers defensive back Ryan Carter (31) and defensive lineman Christian Wilkins (42) in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

But, in the championship’s last quarter, Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams caught a four-yard pass to score a Tiger touchdown and narrow Bama’s lead to 24-21 on the scoreboard. Then, Tiger running back Wayne Gallman built on that gain, scoring a one-yard touchdown to secure a 28-24 lead and move Clemson ahead of its opponent for the first time.

Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) is hit short of the first down against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the third quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) is hit short of the first down against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the third quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama struggled to regain control of the game and snatched back the lead for 31-28 after quarterback Jalen Hurts’ 30-yard touchdown run. But Bama couldn’t hold on.

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) scores a touchdown after getting past Clemson Tigers linebacker Kendall Joseph (34) in the fourth quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) scores a touchdown after getting past Clemson Tigers linebacker Kendall Joseph (34) in the fourth quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

In the game’s final moments, Tiger wide receiver Hunter Renfrow completed a two-yard pass for a touchdown, bringing Clemson a 35-31 winning score.

Clemson Tigers wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (13) catches a touchdown pass against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the fourth quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Tigers wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (13) catches a touchdown pass against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the fourth quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Eight years ago, Clemson football head coach Dabo Swinney told reporters he set out to bring a national championship to Clemson after playing “the best team in the country up until the last second of this game.”

“It was our night. It was our time,” said a visibly emotional Swinney after the win.

Confetti flies on the field after the Clemson Tigers defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Confetti flies on the field after the Clemson Tigers defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Anthony Averett (28) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Clemson Tigers in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Anthony Averett (28) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Clemson Tigers in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Tigers wide receiver Kanyon Tuttle (81) celebrates after beating the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Tigers wide receiver Kanyon Tuttle (81) celebrates after beating the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban after the game against the Clemson Tigers in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban after the game against the Clemson Tigers in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (13) celebrates with tight end Jordan Leggett (16) after making a touchdown catch against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the fourth quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Tigers wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (13) celebrates with tight end Jordan Leggett (16) after making a touchdown catch against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the fourth quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Tigers linebacker Ben Boulware (10) celebrates with teammates after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Tigers linebacker Ben Boulware (10) celebrates with teammates after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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