College football has come to an end, with Clemson taking back their spot as the National Champion. Aside from the big game, USC’s recently hired offensive coordinator may not be there for long, and one of the nation’s best quarterbacks has officially declared for the NFL Draft. Here are the latest college football news and notes.
Clemson crushes Alabama 44-16
For the fourth year in a row, and the third National Championship in those four years, Alabama and Clemson squared off in a battle of college football powerhouses. But the 2019 version will ultimately go down as one of the biggest surprises in this new rivalry.
Led by true freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the Clemson Tigers dominated the Alabama Crimson Tide, winning the College Football Playoff National Championship 44-16. After a first quarter where the score was 14-13 Clemson, and the game seemed very evenly matched, the Tigers would go on to outscore the Crimson Tide 30-3, completing shutting them out in the second half.
Clemson’s 44-point explosion against the perennial power Alabama can be attributed to three players who had monster games. The conversation starts and ends with Lawrence, one of the top QBs in the nation despite being only a freshman and a backup for the first four games of the season. Standing in the pocket against a lethal Alabama pass rush, Lawrence completed 20 of 32 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns.
The main beneficiary of Lawrence’s monster game was wide receiver Justyn Ross. Also a freshman, Ross caught six passes for 153 yards, including a 74-yard touchdown in the third quarter that iced the game for the Tigers. Clemson also got a strong day from sophomore running back Travis Etienne, who ran for 86 yards along with two touchdowns.
For Alabama, the offense was shut down for the majority of the game. Quarterback and Heisman finalist Tua Tagovailoa struggled as he was constantly pressured by the Clemson defensive line all game. The sophomore was 22-34 with 295 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came in the first quarter. He also threw two interceptions, the first one being a pick-6 on the opening drive of the game.
The National Champion title officially returns to Clemson for the first time since Deshaun Watson’s epic victory in 2017. It would not be surprising to see these two teams meet once again next season, as odds makers have already listed Clemson and Alabama as the top two favorites to win the next National Championship.
Kingsbury to interview for NFL jobs
USC believed the hire of Kliff Kingsbury as offensive coordinator would be enough to turn around the last several seasons of misfortunate. However, Kingsbury’s stint with the Trojans may be for a much shorter time than they expected.
According to multiple sources, Kingsbury is expected to interview for NFL head-coaching positions with several teams. The Cardinals and Jets are two teams that are rumored to be interested in Kingsbury as their next head coach.
USC has been blocking Kingsbury from interviewing with teams since they hired him only a few weeks ago. It is still unclear whether USC has changed course and is allowing Kingsbury to interview, or if Kingsbury was forced to resign from his position. It is also unknown if Kingsbury would be able to resume his duties at USC if no NFL team hires him.
Kingsbury, 39, was previously the head coach at Texas Tech for six seasons before being fired in November. Whether as a head coach or assistant, Kingsbury is known for his work with quarterbacks. In the last few years, he has coached Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield, Johnny Manziel, and Case Keenum, among others.
Haskins declares for draft
Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins, one of the best QBs in the nation, has officially decided to leave the Buckeyes and declare for the NFL Draft.
The redshirt sophomore broke several records in his one season as the starting quarterback, culminating in a win and MVP award at the Rose Bowl. Some of the records he set included the most single-season passing yards and most passing touchdowns in Big 10 history, as well as the most single-game passing yards and touchdowns in Ohio State history.
Haskins, a Heisman finalist, is projected to be the top quarterback selected in the upcoming draft. Several teams with quarterback issues, including Haskins’ hometown Giants, are expected to be interested in drafting him.
Now that the college football season is over, the next thing to follow is the NFL Draft. Expect a wave of players to announce their decisions in the coming days, whether it’s returning to school or being a part of the next NFL rookie class.