By Don Phillips
#1 CLEMSON (14-0) VS. #2 ALABAMA (13-1)
JANUARY 11, 2016
National Championship Game
University of Phoenix Stadium
Kickoff: 8:32 p.m.
TV: ESPN (Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Heather Cox)
CLEMSON RADIO NETWORK: (Don Munson, Rodney Williams, Patrick Sapp)
ESPN Radio: (Mike Tirico, Todd Blackledge, Holly Rowe)
Overall Record: Alabama Leads, 12-3
at Neutral: Tied 3-3
at Alabama: Alabama Leads, 7-0
at Clemson: Alabama Leads 2-0
First Meeting: Clemson 35-0 in 1900
Last Meeting: Alabama 34-10 in 2008
Last Clemson Win: 25-0 in 1905
Streak:Alabama won 12 straight
Clemson has won 17 consecutive games, the longest streak in Clemson history and the longest active streak nationally. Alabama’s 11-game streak entering the national championship game is second. Clemson last suffered a loss on November 15, 2014 at Georgia Tech, a 28-6 defeat in Atlanta. Deshaun Watson started the game, but suffered a knee injury and played just 18 plays.
Over Clemson’s 17-game winning streak the Tigers have out-scored the opposition 640-303, an average victory margin of 19.8 points per game. Clemson averages 37.65 points per game during the winning streak and gives up 17.8. That means the Orange Bowl win over Oklahoma, 37-17, was typical of what Clemson has done during the winning streak that includes five wins over Top 25 teams, including three ranked in the top 10.
In terms of total offense, Clemson has averaged 494 yards a game and given up 294, an average total offense margin of +200 yards per game. Clemson has averaged 277 yards passing and 217 yards rushing during that 17 game streak. The opposition has averaged 175 passing and 119 rushing. So, Clemson has nearly a 100-yard margin in both categories over the streak.
Here are some other quick notes on the streak:
• 13 wins by at least double figures
• Seven wins by at least 20 points
• 11 games with at least 500 yards total offense, including 10 in a row
• Seven games with at least 300 yards passing
• 13 games with at least 200 yards rushing
• 9 games with at least 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing, including six of last seven.
• Clemson has not trailed in the fourth quarter in any of the 17 games and been tied in just one game (FSU 2015).
Clemson had to replace eight starters from last year, but it has not stopped the Tigers from having a great season. Brent Venables’s group ranks among the best in the nation in many categories. Clemson ranks in the top 25 in 11 categories.
Alabama limited Michigan State to 239 yards of total offense in the 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic, the 10th time the Tide has kept a team under 300 yards in 2015. UA held Florida to 180 yards in the 2015 SEC Championship Game, Auburn to 260 yards in the Iron Bowl to close out the regular season and prior to that limited LSU to 182, Arkansas to 220 yards, Georgia to 299 yards, ULM to 92 yards and Middle Tennessee to 275 yards, one week after holding Wisconsin to 268 yards of total offense in the season opener.
In head coach Nick Saban’s 122-game tenure at Alabama, the Crimson Tide has limited opponents to under 300 yards of total offense 76 times, or 62.3 percent of the time. UA held six of its 14 opponents below 300 yards in 20.
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Selection: Clemson +7 Over 50