The Clemson Tigers beat the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, Monday night, 44-16.
The game featured the SEC champion Alabama and ACC champion Clemson. Both teams headed into the game with 14-0 records, meaning the winner was the first 15-win team since the 1897 Penn Quakers.
Although expected to be a highly contested game, Clemson dominated from start to finish. The Tigers were leading 31-16 at the half, and continued piling on once the game resumed. During the second half, Clemson scored another 13 points, and Alabama failed to add any points to their total.
This was the second championship for Clemson in three years, following their 35-31 victory over the Crimson Tide in January 2017.
This was also the first championship game to feature two undefeated teams since the 2011 BCS National Championship Game, when 13-0 Auburn beat 12-0 Oregon. The winner was also the first national championship winner since Florida State finished 14-0 after winning the 2014 BCS National Championship Game.
This was the third consecutive national championship to feature Alabama and the third since 2014 to include Alabama and Clemson. Last year, Alabama beat the Georgia Bulldogs 26-23 in a nailbiting game.
This year's finalists reached the National Championship after two easy playoff games. Alabama beat Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 29, 45-34 and Clemson steamrolled over Notre Dame 30-3 in the Cotton Bowl on the same day.
Before the game, there were questions about the field at Levi's Stadium, which also hosted the Redbox Bowl on Dec. 31. Since the stadium opened in 2014, the field has been plagued with issues when it rains, so a new field was installed for the all-important national championship. College Football Playoff organizers said the field will be fine, even though there has been rain in the Bay Area recently, reports the Washington Post. There has also been a tarp on the field every time it rains.
"That was always the plan," CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock told the San Francisco Chronicle. "We've put in a new field every time we've been outdoors. We're confident about the field."
"The grass is two inches deep, and it weighs 24 pounds a square foot," Danielle Scardino of West Coast Turf, which installed the field, told the Desert Sun. "The grass doesn't have time to take root, but it's heavy enough to where it's not going to move."
For the players, the field conditions were not a big deal. Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams told the Chronicle he did not think it would decide a victor.
"Whether the field is wet or dry, the team that’s more physical will win," he said.
“It’s not going to change anything,” added Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. “We’re still going to play how we play.”
Photo credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images