Clemson QB Deshaun Watson was pretty upfront about it — the Tigers beat Alabama with a pick play. And many Alabama fans are furious about it.
Clemson took down the Crimson Tide with a game-winning touchdown pass with 1 second remaining to give the Tigers a 35-31 victory in the College Football Playoff national championship game on Monday night.
In the moments following the victory, Watson described the play in front of a national audience on ESPN’s live broadcast.
“We knew that they were going to play cover zero when we were inside the 5,” Watson told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi. “And all we needed was a good pick by TE (Jordan Leggett). And TE picked ’em and (Hunter) Renfrow got inside the end zone, and I just threw the ball where we could make sure he caught it. And that’s what he did.
“It’s something we’ve worked on all year long and it was the perfect time to call it.”
It was a 2-yard touchdown connection between Watson and Renfrow.
Here’s a look at that final play, which gave Clemson the lead with a second remaining:
Ball. Game. pic.twitter.com/duegg5jcAN
— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) January 10, 2017
To be fair, the penalty is only supposed to be called if an actual pick occurs. And while this play certainly is designed to clear space, it’s up for debate as to whether there was a clear pick on the play.
Nonetheless, the Internet sounded off on the “pick play” that won Clemson a national title:
Easy to understand why the Alabama folks would be enraged…IF those pic plays should be called…need to hear why or why not…
— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) January 10, 2017
This best pick play i seen since Stockton to Malone!!! #nationalchampionship
— COHO (@coho337) January 10, 2017
Saban's going to have that pick play banned tomorrow night https://t.co/TecVO6jskD
— Lee Munger (@Suthrn_Shepherd) January 10, 2017
Listening to Trevor Matich rationalize the pick plays is worse than the officials allowing the pick plays.
— Nicholas A. Kovach (@TheKovach) January 10, 2017
Pick plays and pass int's that didn't happen in the end zone. Congrats to Big XII refs on their national championship!!!!
— Dave (@12thManinEdmond) January 10, 2017