It’s time to take a look at the stats of Alabama vs. Clemson game, the last college football game of this season.
I think to begin the stat look for the 2015-2016 football season with some game related stats for myself. Those numbers that you will need are three and ten. Three is for the number of coronary episodes I had during that game and ten is the years that have been taken from my life. I actually tweeted last night to make sure if I should place the nitroglycerin underneath my tongue or to swallow. Many suggested both simultaneously.
Oh well, enough about me. After suffering through the ups and downs of the game, what Tide fans got to see was Alabama celebrate their 16th national title after defeating the then top-ranked Clemson Tigers 45-40 in Glendale, AZ. It would be the Tide’s fourth title in seven years.
It wasn’t the best performance of the season and even Coach Nick Saban said so. However, it was the desired outcome that Alabama fans wanted. It was also a game that saw players that haven’t had much production show up in a huge way, and two players that have had tough times in Tuscaloosa get some redemption.
In the past few games of the season, wide receivers Calvin Ridley and ArDarius Stewart have been coming up big for the Tide. Stewart led that duo with two receptions on 63 yards while Ridley could only haul in 14 yards. They had a bad game. It happens. What the Tide missed from those two, it was made up by tight end O.J. Howard and was it made up in a big way. Howard scored two touchdowns (51 yards and 53 yards) on five passes for 2008 yards. Redemption story number one.
Redemption story number two. We all remember kicker Adam Griffith and the field goal troubles he had especially the one from Auburn that earned a nickname and is played on repeat the day after TBS’ 24 Hours of “A Christmas Story”. With the game at tied at 24 in the fourth quarter, Coach Saban made the decision to go for the onside kick to try to keep the momentum on the Tide’s side and to get the defense a rest. Adam Griffith delivered the pooch kick just about as good as it could be done and right into waiting arms of Marlon Humphrey to give Alabama possession once again.
Kenyan Drake is the last redemption story. He missed most of last season after suffering a broken leg against Ole Miss and had to miss some this season with a broken arm suffered against the same team. After he returned, he seemed to run just a bit timid and sluggish. In his defense, I guess I would, too. But there was one point on January 11 that he didn’t run timid or sluggish. With 7:31 left in the fourth, Drake’s speed carried him 95 yards for a kickoff return that ended in joy and elation for the whole team for what Drake had just done.
Mr. Reliable Derrick Henry had another good game but did have some trouble getting things going like he normally can do. Things weren’t gelling along the offensive line on Monday, mainly due in part to the Crimson Tide. Henry still racked up 158 yards on 36 carries with three touchdowns. Quarterback Jake Coker didn’t turn in another Michigan State game performance partly for the same reason listed above that resulted in five sacks. He did complete 16 passes on 25 attempts for 335 yards and two touchdowns.
Geno-Matias Smith led the team with 11 tackles and Rashaan Evans put together the only two sacks of the night, a category where Alabama had led the NCAA. Eddie Jackson hauled in the only intereception for the Tide.
The more I think about it, all three of those redemption stories could be combined into just one. After the Ole Miss loss, not many national guys gave this team a chance to finish out how we all wanted them to finish. As you know, they did. They fought, they believed, and they held the trophy last night as national champions. I love this team and the coaching staff that never gave up. So yes. This season was all about redemption. A redemption of this season and last season and it ended in extraordinary fashion. It makes me proud to be a fan of the Crimson Tide.