Could learn to be more gracious in defeat like Tigers were after 2018 Sugar Bowl loss
After Alabama beat Clemson by 18 points in the 2018 Sugar Bowl, the Tigers were very gracious in their comments.
Though the Tigers felt they could have played better, they gave the Crimson Tide credit for why they did not play well.
“They came to play,” Clemson wide receiver Hunter Renfrow said after the game. “Credit to them because they came to play and hit us in the mouth. We took it there for a little bit and eventually we finally got some things going, but it is tough.”
Dexter Lawrence said there was no quit on the Clemson team that night in New Orleans, but he conceded Alabama was the better team.
“We wanted to show our heart and our determination and that’s what the guys did,” he said after the loss. “Unfortunately, it did not go our way. They had a little better game than us. That is just something you have to fight through.”
Kelly Bryant, who quarterbacked the Tigers in the game and had a rough night, gave the Alabama defense all the credit.
“We talked about that before the game,” he said. “And there was going to be adversity early in the game. Just make sure that we stay together and battle through it. But you have to give credit to Alabama. The mistakes that we made, they capitalized on it. And so, it’s a learning experience for us.”
The stories and the credit were pretty much the same throughout the locker room that night. But the same can’t not be said about all the Alabama players following the Tigers’ 44-16 win in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship three weeks ago.
It’s already been documented what Quinnen Williams and Tua Tagovailoa said after the game and how neither really gave Clemson credit. But now, three weeks later, another former Alabama player is out there making excuses for the Tide’s loss.
Former Alabama running back Josh Jacobs told Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio that the Tide was “mentally fatigued” heading into the game with Clemson.
“Honestly, I know it might sound cliché or anything like that but, before the game, the feel, you could feel it was gonna be a rough one,” Jacobs said in the interview. “Not only young players trying to feel the vibe of big games, but just being able to play so long after a certain amount of time it kind of wears on you, especially when you play great teams week-in and week-out you get everybody’s best shot it kind of wears on you.
“I think the team was just mentally fatigued. … It was probably a little bit of [complacency] to from some players. But for the most part, I think people were just fatigued.”
Fatigued from what? From blowing teams out? Playing a long season? A target on your back?
Last time I checked, Clemson played a long season, too. They did not look fatigued. Does Jacobs think every team Clemson played was not giving it their all and not playing their best?
Does he think Clemson did not have a target on its back?
As much that was made about Clemson’s easy road to the national championship, did Jacobs even glance at how easy things were for the Tide in the SEC this year. If that was their opponent’s best, then the SEC is even more overrated than I thought.
In its 12 regular season games, Alabama won by an average margin of 35.3 points. It outscored its opponents by 424 points. The closest game the Crimson Tide played in the regular season was a 22-point home win against Texas A&M in Week 4.
That is it!
The Tide was not challenged the entire regular season. Their first tough game came in the SEC Championship Game against Georgia when they rallied to beat the Bulldogs, 35-28.
Don’t give me they were challenged by Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, either. Alabama opened that game with a 28-0 lead, and with six minutes to go in the game they had an 18-point lead. The Sooners scored late to make the score closer than it actually was.
So, what caused the Crimson Tide to be fatigued? It surely wasn’t their schedule.
Clemson was way more challenged during the course of the regular season than Alabama was, and trust me, the Tigers were hardly challenged. They won their 12 regular season games by an average of 31.6 points per game.
However, Clemson hung on to beat A&M by two points at Kyle Field in College Station and then the week Bryant left the team and Trevor Lawrence was knocked out of the game, it rallied to beat Syracuse at home by four points.
So, get over it Alabama. You played an easy schedule. You were not fatigued. You got beat by the better team, who outplayed you and outcoached you in every facet of the game.
Alabama players need to take some notes from Clemson players and learn how to be more gracious in defeat.
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