2019 College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T
5th College Football Playoff National Championship
1234 Total
Clemson 1417130 44
Alabama 13300 16
DateJanuary 7, 2019
StadiumLevi's Stadium
LocationSanta Clara, California
MVPOffensive: #16 QB Trevor Lawrence, Fr. Clemson
Defensive: #1 CB Trayvon Mullen, Jr. Clemson[1]
FavoriteAlabama by 5.5[2]
National anthemAndy Grammer
RefereeMike Cannon (Big Ten)
Halftime showClemson University Tiger Band
Million Dollar Band
United States TV coverage
NetworkESPN and ESPN Radio
AnnouncersChris Fowler (play-by-play)
Kirk Herbstreit (analyst)
Tom Rinaldi and Maria Taylor (sideline) (ESPN)
Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Holly Rowe and Ian Fitzsimmons (ESPN Radio)
Nielsen ratings14.6 (25.28 million viewers)[3][4]
International TV coverage
NetworkESPN Deportes
ESPN Deportes Radio
AnnouncersLalo Varela and Pablo Viruega (ESPN Deportes)
Kenneth Garay and Alex Pombo (ESPN Deportes Radio)
College Football Playoff National Championship
 < 2018  2020

The 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship was a college football bowl game played on January 7, 2019, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The fifth College Football Playoff National Championship, the game determined a national champion in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision for the 2018 season. It was the final game of the 2018-19 College Football Playoff (CFP) and, aside from any all-star games that followed, was the culminating game of the 2018–19 bowl season.[5] Sponsored by telecommunications company AT&T, the game was officially known as the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T.[2]

The Clemson Tigers defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide by a score of 44–16 to win the championship with an undefeated 15–0 record. Clemson became the first such undefeated team in the CFP era to win the title, and the first[a] to finish 15–0 in a single season since the 1897 Penn Quakers.[6][7] The 28-point loss was the largest margin of defeat for Alabama during the Nick Saban era (since 2007)[8] and since Alabama's 31-point loss in the 1998 Music City Bowl.[9]


Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, was announced as the host site for the fifth College Football Playoff National Championship on November 4, 2015. Atlanta was awarded the 2018 championship game while New Orleans was awarded the 2020 game. The three game sites were chosen out of nine bids, with bids by Houston, South Florida, Charlotte, Detroit, Minnesota, and San Antonio not selected.[10]

2019 College Football Playoff

Levi's stadium
Levi's Stadium prior to the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship
Semifinals Championship
December 29 – Orange Bowl
Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens
 1  Alabama 45  
 4  Oklahoma 34   January 7 – National Championship
Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara
      1   Alabama 16
December 29 – Cotton Bowl
AT&T Stadium, Arlington
    2   Clemson 44
 2  Clemson 30
 3  Notre Dame 3  

The College Football Playoff selection committee selected four teams to advance to the playoff. The bowl selection show took place on December 2.[11] The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide faced the fourth-ranked Oklahoma Sooners in the Orange Bowl, and the second-ranked Clemson Tigers faced the third-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Cotton Bowl, both held on December 29.[12] Alabama defeated Oklahoma, 45–34,[13] and Clemson defeated Notre Dame, 30–3.[14]


Alabama held a 14–4 series lead over Clemson in prior meetings between the two teams.[15] They had met in the postseason in each of the prior three seasons: the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship, won by Alabama (45–40); the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship, won by Clemson (35–31); and the 2018 Sugar Bowl playoff semifinal game, won by Alabama (24–6).[15]

This was the first time under the College Football Playoff format (initiated in 2014) that an undefeated team won the championship, as both teams came into the game 14–0.[16]

Clemson Tigers

Main article: 2018 Clemson Tigers football team

Clemson defeated the Pittsburgh Panthers in the 2018 ACC Championship Game on December 1, then received their bid to the Cotton Bowl with the release of final CFP rankings on December 2.[12] Clemson defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Cotton Bowl Classic on December 29 to advance to the championship game. The Tigers entered the championship game with a 14–0 record.[14] On January 3, it was confirmed that three Clemson players, including starting defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, would remain suspended from playing by the NCAA, due to drug testing in advance of the Cotton Bowl Classic that showed "trace amounts of a banned substance", which was identified as ostarine.[17][18]

Alabama Crimson Tide

Main article: 2018 Alabama Crimson Tide football team

Alabama defeated the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2018 SEC Championship Game on December 1, then received their bid to the Orange Bowl with the release of final CFP rankings on December 2.[12] Alabama defeated the Oklahoma Sooners in the Orange Bowl on December 29 to advance to the championship game. The Crimson Tide also entered the championship game with a 14–0 record.[13] On December 27, in advance of the Orange Bowl, three Alabama players, including starting offensive lineman Deonte Brown, were suspended for the remainder of the season, in what was initially described as an unspecified violation of team rules, then later characterized as NCAA violations.[19][20]

Starting lineups

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney
Alabama head coach Nick Saban
Clemson starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence (shown at 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship postgame)
Alabama starting running back Damien Harris
Clemson Position Alabama
Tee Higgins 2 WR Henry Ruggs III 1
Hunter Renfrow 5 WR DeVonta Smith 1
Mitch Hyatt LT Jonah Williams 1
John Simpson 4 LG Lester Cotton
Justin Falcinelli C Ross Pierschbacher 5
Gage Cervenka RG Alex Leatherwood 1
Tremayne Anchrum 7 RT Jedrick Wills Jr. 1
Garrett Williams TE Irv Smith Jr. 2
Amari Rodgers 3 WR Jerry Jeudy 1
Trevor Lawrence 1 QB Tua Tagovailoa 1
Travis Etienne 1 RB Damien Harris 3
Clelin Ferrell 1 DE Isaiah Buggs 6
Christian Wilkins 1 DT NG Quinnen Williams 1
Albert Huggins DT DE Raekwon Davis 2
Austin Bryant 4 DE STAR Shyheim Carter
Kendall Joseph WLB Dylan Moses
Tre Lamar MLB Mack Wilson 5
Isaiah Simmons 1 SLB Anfernee Jennings 3
A. J. Terrell 1 CB Saivion Smith
Trayvon Mullen 2 CB Patrick Surtain II 1
K'Von Wallace 4 SS Xavier McKinney 2
Tanner Muse 3 FS Deionte Thompson 5
† 2018 All-American
Selected in an NFL Draft
(number corresponds to draft round)


Game summary

After winning the coin toss, Alabama elected to defer, giving Clemson the ball to start the game. The Tigers' opening drive resulted in a three-and-out, and Alabama took over on their own 21-yard-line following a punt. However, three plays later, the scoring was opened by Clemson cornerback A. J. Terrell, who intercepted a Tua Tagovailoa pass and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown. Alabama responded quickly, as Tagovailoa made up for the interception three plays later by finding Jerry Jeudy downfield for a 62-yard score. On their ensuing drive, Clemson continued the offensive trend of the first quarter with a 62-yard pass of their own, from Trevor Lawrence to Tee Higgins, which set up a 17-yard touchdown rush by Travis Etienne on the next play. Now trailing 14–7, Alabama marched downfield on their next drive, covering 75 yards in ten plays, to score a touchdown with an opportunity to tie the game. However, Alabama freshman placekicker Joseph Bulovas missed the extra point, hitting the right upright; this was his sixth missed extra point of the season and left Clemson ahead by one, 14–13. Clemson's ensuing drive resulted in another three-and-out; they punted to Alabama, who made it to the Clemson 3-yard-line when the first quarter ended.[22][23][24]

The second quarter began with Clemson holding a one-point lead, although this would not last for long. Two plays into the quarter, Bulovas converted a 25-yard field goal to put Alabama in front by two points, 16–14. Clemson would soon recapture the lead, as Lawrence led the Tigers' offense down the field in six plays; the drive was capped by a one-yard touchdown rush by Travis Etienne. With Clemson lead at 21–16, Alabama began their next drive. The Clemson defense would make another important play, as Tagovailoa threw his second interception of the game and only his sixth all season. Clemson then capitalized with a five-yard pass from Lawrence to Etienne to push the lead to 12 points, 28–16. On what would be their last drive of the half, Alabama punted on 4th-and-17, giving Clemson the ball on their own 21-yard-line. With just over two minutes on the clock, Clemson drove down the field and converted a 36-yard field goal that put the lead at 31–16 and gave the Tide the ball back with 45 seconds. After an incomplete pass and a six-yard rush, Alabama head coach Nick Saban elected to let the clock expire and head to halftime trailing by fifteen.[22][23][24]

On Alabama's first drive of the second half, they gained 53 yards on 12 plays before losing two yards on a fake field goal, turning the ball over on downs and giving the Tigers the football on their own 24-yard-line. Clemson took advantage of the Tide's mistake, scoring on a 74-yard Trevor Lawrence pass to Justyn Ross. Greg Huegel's extra point attempt hit the left upright, leaving the score at 37–16; it was only his second missed extra point of the season. Alabama's next drive spanned 59 yards before they failed to convert a 4th-and-4 on Clemson's 14-yard-line, giving the Tigers the ball with just under six minutes to play in the third quarter. Clemson took advantage, driving 89 yards for a touchdown with a five-yard touchdown catch by Tee Higgins; the successful extra point pushed their lead to 44–16. Alabama's 28-point deficit was the largest in any game under Saban, their coach since 2007. The Tide began their third drive of the second half on their 25-yard-line following a touchback.[22][23][24]

Following a 48-yard pass from Tagovailoa to Jeudy on the final play of the third quarter, Alabama started the fourth quarter with a first down on Clemson's 27-yard-line. However, Alabama's offense stalled again, losing seven yards on 4th-and-goal from Clemson's 2-yard-line; this was the Tide's third straight turnover on downs, with all three coming in Clemson territory. Clemson was then unable to take advantage of their possession and punted for the first time since the first quarter; the punt was downed at Alabama's 48-yard-line. Alabama began their fourth second-half drive with just over eleven minutes on the clock and Jalen Hurts at quarterback; it ended in a three-and-out, and Mike Bernier's punt was downed at the Clemson one-yard-line. After draining more than seven minutes on the clock and with the ball on Alabama's 17-yard-line, the majority of Clemson's offensive starters were removed from the game, and Chase Brice was put in at quarterback. Clemson used up the remaining two minutes off the clock and took a knee on the final play ending the longest drive (10:02) in Clemson history and winning the National Championship, their second title in three years.[22][23][24][25]

Scoring summary

2019 College Football Playoff National Championship
Period 1 2 34Total
No. 2 Clemson 14 17 13044
No. 1 Alabama 13 3 0016

at Levi's StadiumSanta Clara, California

Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring information Score
Plays Yards TOP Clemson Alabama
1 13:20 Clemson Interception returned 44 yards for touchdown by A. J. Terrell, Greg Huegel kick good 7 0
1 12:05 3 75 1:15 Alabama Jerry Jeudy 62-yard touchdown reception from Tua Tagovailoa, Joseph Bulovas kick good 7 7
1 10:35 4 75 1:30 Clemson Travis Etienne 17-yard touchdown run, Greg Huegel kick good 14 7
1 6:23 10 75 4:12 Alabama Hale Hentges 1-yard touchdown reception from Tua Tagovailoa, Joseph Bulovas kick no good (wide right) 14 13
2 14:18 11 45 6:07 Alabama 25-yard field goal by Joseph Bulovas 14 16
2 11:38 6 65 2:40 Clemson Travis Etienne 1-yard touchdown run, Greg Huegel kick good 21 16
2 4:38 8 47 3:27 Clemson Travis Etienne 5-yard touchdown reception from Trevor Lawrence, Greg Huegel kick good 28 16
2 0:45 8 61 1:19 Clemson 36-yard field goal by Greg Huegel 31 16
3 8:26 3 76 1:21 Clemson Justyn Ross 74-yard touchdown reception from Trevor Lawrence, Greg Huegel kick no good (wide left) 37 16
3 0:21 12 89 5:21 Clemson Tee Higgins 5-yard touchdown reception from Trevor Lawrence, Greg Huegel kick good 44 16
"TOP" = time of possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football. 44 16



One of the sideline reporters shows off the College Football Playoff trophy late in the fourth quarter.
Statistics Clemson Alabama
First downs 21 23
Plays–yards 63–482 73–443
Rushes–yards 31–135 37–148
Passing yards 347 295
Passing: comp–att–int 20–32–0 22–36–2
Time of possession 28:23 31:37
Team Category Player Statistics
Clemson Passing Trevor Lawrence 20/32, 347 yds, 3 TD
Rushing Travis Etienne 14 car, 86 yds, 2 TD
Receiving Justyn Ross 6 rec, 153 yds, 1 TD
Alabama Passing Tua Tagovailoa 22/34, 295 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing Najee Harris 9 car, 59 yds
Receiving Jerry Jeudy 5 rec, 139 yds, 1 TD



The game was televised nationally by ESPN, with Megacast coverage across all of its networks except ABC. As in 2018, the network also promoted an off-site concert that was televised at halftime during ESPN's broadcast, featuring rock band Imagine Dragons, including a "special collaboration" with rapper Lil Wayne,[30] on Treasure Island.[31]

See also


  1. ^ At the FBS, Division I-A, or their predecessors level of college football.


  1. ^ Hadley, Greg (January 7, 2019). "Trevor Lawrence, Trayvon Mullen earn MVP honors as Clemson blows out Alabama". The State. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Clemson vs. Alabama – Game Summary – January 7, 2019". ESPN. January 7, 2019. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  3. ^ Volner, Derek (January 8, 2019). "College Football Playoff National Championship Delivers Cable's Best Overnight in 12 Months". ESPN MediaZone. ESPN. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  4. ^ Volner, Derek (January 8, 2019). "CFP National Championship – Alabama vs. Clemson: 25.3 Million Fans Watched, Up from the Same Matchup Two Seasons Ago". ESPN MediaZone. ESPN. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  5. ^ "Scoring Summary (Final)" (PDF). Clemson Tigers Athletics. January 7, 2019. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  6. ^ "Single Season Leaders and Records for Wins". Sports Reference. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  7. ^ "Alabama vs. Clemson score: Tigers crush Tide to reclaim throne, win 2019 national championship". CBS Sports. Archived from the original on October 4, 2023. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  8. ^ Fornelli, Tom (January 8, 2019). "National Championship 2019: Clemson hands Alabama its biggest loss ever under Nick Saban". CBS Sports. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  9. ^ Potter, Charlie (January 7, 2019). "Recap: Alabama's season ends in disappointing title game loss". 247Sports. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  10. ^ Alex Scarbough (November 4, 2015). "Atlanta, Santa Clara, and New Orleans land CFP title games for 2018–20". ESPN. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  11. ^ Stephenson, Creg (December 2, 2018). "Complete 2018–19 College Football Playoff, bowl schedule, updated pairings". AL.com. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  12. ^ a b c "Alabama Oklahoma Clemson Notre Dame playoff previews". ESPN. December 2, 2018. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Orange Bowl: Alabama beats Oklahoma to set up another Clemson showdown". USA Today. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Clemson Crushes Notre Dame to Reach Its 3rd National Title Game in 4 Seasons – The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  15. ^ a b "Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Clemson Tigers football series history games list". Winsipedia. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  16. ^ Fornelli, Tom (December 30, 2018). "College Football Playoff National Championship: Alabama vs. Clemson IV set for 2019 title game". CBS Sports. Retrieved May 1, 2024.
  17. ^ Hale, David M. (December 27, 2018). "Suspensions of three Clemson players upheld after B samples test positive". ESPN. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  18. ^ Cooper, Sam (January 3, 2019). "Clemson DL Dexter Lawrence officially ineligible for national championship vs. Alabama". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  19. ^ Scarborough, Alex (December 25, 2018). "OL Deonte Brown among 3 Alabama players suspended for Orange Bowl". ESPN. Retrieved December 25, 2018.
  20. ^ Zenitz, Matt (December 27, 2018). "3 suspended Alabama players out indefinitely". AL.com. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  21. ^ "CFP National Championship Game Book" (PDF). January 7, 2019. p. 5. Retrieved January 20, 2019 – via Alabama Crimson Tide Athletics.
  22. ^ a b c d "Alabama v Clemson: College Football Playoff national championship 2019 – live!". The Guardian. January 7, 2019. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  23. ^ a b c d Janower, Jacob (January 7, 2018). "Alabama vs. Clemson results: Score, highlights as Tigers dismantle Tide for College Football Playoff title". Sporting News. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  24. ^ a b c d "2019 National Championship liveblog: Alabama vs. Clemson". Football Zebras. January 7, 2018. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  25. ^ "Clemson becomes first 15–0 team since 1897". 247Sports. January 8, 2019. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  26. ^ "Clemson vs. Alabama – Play-By-Play". ESPN. January 7, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  27. ^ "Clemson vs. Alabama – Scoring Summary". National Collegiate Athletic Association. January 7, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  28. ^ "Clemson vs. Alabama – Team Statistics". ESPN. January 7, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  29. ^ "Clemson vs. Alabama – Team Stats". National Collegiate Athletic Association. January 7, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  30. ^ Aron A. (January 3, 2019). "Lil Wayne To Join Imagine Dragons During College Football Playoff Halftime Show". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  31. ^ Harrington, Jim (December 13, 2018). "Huge rock act performs free halftime show for Bay Area's college football championship". The Mercury News. Retrieved December 15, 2018.