SANTA CLARA, Calif. — As defensive back Saivion Smith lay on the ground after he cramped up Justyn Ross trotted into the end zone for a 74-yard passing touchdown, Clemson was destroying the Alabama defense.
Clemson's offense scored 37 points in a 44-16 victory at Levi's Stadium - as the Tigers handed head coach Nick Saban the worst loss of his tenure in Tuscaloosa.
The Tigers' 44 total points — the first seven of which were scored on A.J. Terrell's 44-yard pick-six of Tua Tagovailoa — are one shy of of the most any team has scored against a Saban-coached Crimson Tide team. Their 482 yards are the most any team has gained against Alabama since the 2016 season.
Clemson scored points on six of their next seven offensive drives and seemed to be unstoppable.
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, picked apart the Tide secondary. After missing on his first three passing attempts, he hit 19 of his next 26 for 347 yards and three touchdowns.
Lawrence's 347 passing yards in the game are the most any quarterback has thrown for against Alabama since Deshaun Watson threw for 420 in Clemson's 35-31 victory in the 2017 CFP National Championship game.
Defense wasn't the only reason Alabama lost Monday. Two Tagovailoa interceptions — one a pick-six and one that led to another touchdown — played a factor, as did a season-low 16 points on offense and a litany of mistakes.
But the defense certainly didn't help matters Monday in one of its worst performances since Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa 12 years ago.
The Tigers have so much returning talent for next season Clemson has to be the favorite to win the 2020 CFB National Championship