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Clemson rally from 10 points down to beat Alabama 35-31 and lift NCAA football crown

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09:  Quarterback Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates with teammates after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide 35-31 to wi
Image: Clemson players celebrate winning their national title with quarterback DeShaun Watson (centre)

DeShaun Watson's last second touchdown pass gave Clemson a 35-31 win over Alabama in college football's championship game in Tampa.

The Tigers launched a ferocious final quarter comeback after trailing by 10 points heading into the final 15 minutes and quickly losing the lead the only time they had it, at least until the final second.

Reigning champions the Crimson Tide led 14-0 early in the second quarter when running back Bo Scarbrough added a 37-yard touchdown run to his earlier 25-yard score.

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Tigers quarterback Watson halved the deficit with a rushing score of his own with 6:09 remaining in what had been a defensive opening half.

A Watson pass to Hunter Renfrow - more of him later - cut Alabama's lead to 17-14 but a spectacular 68-yard pass from Jalen Hurts to O.J. Howard restored Alabama's 10-point lead heading into the final quarter.

Watson and Mike Williams linked up for a four-yard score and Clemson took the lead for the first time on the night when Wayne Gallman plunged over from a yard to make it 28-24 Tigers.

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09:  Quarterback Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates after throwing a 2-yard game-winning touchdown pass during the four
Image: Watson threw three touchdown passes and rushed for another

Hurts rallied Alabama into a 31-28 lead with 2:09 remaining with a 30-yard scamper for his second rushing touchdown but there was still plenty of time for more drama.

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Clemson started the winning drive at their own 32 and made ground consistently, Renfrow's catch securing a key first down to move them into field goal range, at the very least.

But a 17-yard catch by Jordan Leggett and an Alabama penalty took them down to the two-yard line, where Watson was able to hook up with Renfrow for a second touchdown and secure victory on what turned out to be the final offensive play of the game.

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09:  Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow #13 of the Clemson Tigers makes a 2-yard game-winning touchdown reception against defensive back Tony
Image: Hunter Renfrow hauls in the winning catch with a second remaining on the clock

"I'm speechless now," said Watson, almost certain to be a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

"We're national champion and it's amazing. We worked so hard for it and we fell short last year...I don't even know what to say."

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