Clemson head coach says Tigers were just the better team
Prior to last month’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game, Dabo Swinney looked at his Clemson team and told them the best team in the country was sitting right there in that room.
“I told them we have the best team in the country right here,” Swinney recalled Wednesday during his National Signing Day Press Conference. “I told them that all year, ‘and tonight you get the chance to prove it.’
“That is what they did, and they left no doubt.”
Or did they?
It would seem a 44-16 victory over the team everyone in the national media called “the best team ever” would have left no doubt, but in the days and weeks since the Tigers’ impressive victory over Alabama, everyone wanted to know what was wrong with the Crimson Tide, instead of what Clemson had just done.
At least that is the way Swinney heard it.
“This team was dominant. I mean just dominant,” he said. “It has been interesting, all the riding around in the car and listening to the radio. It is fascinating to me to hear some of the comments. You know, it is like everybody wants to explain what happened to Alabama, instead of, how about Clemson just had the better team.”
The Tigers held Alabama scoreless over the final 44 minutes, while scoring 30 unanswered points to hand Nick Saban his worst loss in his 12 seasons there. Actually, it was Alabama’s worst loss since 2003 when Saban’s LSU team beat the Tide by 16 points.
Clemson held Alabama scoreless on three red zone trips, had two interceptions—one it returned for a touchdown—and harassed quarterback Tua Tagovailoa all night.
On the offensive end, Trevor Lawrence threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns, while Justyn Ross caught six passes for 153 yards and a touchdown. Tee Higgins had three catches for 81 yards and scored a touchdown, while running back Travis Etienne rushed for 86 yards and scored three touchdowns.
In other words, Clemson really did not do anything different than it had all year. The Tigers won by an average of 31.6 points per game, including 36.1 points in the final 10 games of the season.
“They won thirteen games by twenty-plus points,” Swinney said. “They won their state championship by three touchdowns. They won the ACC Championship by four touchdowns, they won the Cotton Bowl by four touchdowns and then they won by four touchdowns in the national championship game.
“All they did was do what they did all year, but people just did not really pay attention. So, it is like, nothing happened to Alabama. They just played a better team that day. It is as simple as that. Alabama is unbelievable. They were 14-1. They did an amazing job, an amazing job. We just had the better team.”
Move over Alabama, Clemson is the new King of College Football. In our new magazine “Little Ole Clemson”: The Best “Little” Dynasty Ever, we examine not just the 2018 team’s run to being “the best ever” but examine the last four seasons and how Dabo Swinney turned Clemson into the new dynasty of college football. We also take a look at the role former athletic director Terry Don Phillips played. We go behind the scenes at the Tigers’ run to a second national championship in three seasons and the previous three national championship runs. It also features stories on the Power Rangers, the 2018 senior class, high quality photos and much, much more.
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