Clemson pulls out win against Alabama in tight championship game

By Rod Gipson, Digital Media Producer
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 9:56 AM EST

In a rematch from 2016, Clemson beat Alabama at the last second to win the College Football Playoff National Championship in Tampa.

Clemson beat Alabama 35-31.

The Tide took an early lead in the first half, up 14-0. 

But Clemson clawed its way back to keep the game tight. With less than 5 minutes to go, Clemson took the lead against Alabama. Two minutes later, Alabama retook the lead.

With seconds left on the clock, Clemson charged up the field and managed to pull a last-second touchdown.

Some 74,500 fans watched the game at Raymond James Stadium -- a record for the venue.

The College Football Playoff National Championship celebration started Friday in Tampa and went right through to Monday night.

Fans from Clemson and Alabama spent Monday afternoon engaged in more revelry outside of Raymond James Stadium.

They were entertained at the massive Championship Tailgate celebration. Music blared, drinks were poured and food was consumed all afternoon.

About 100,000 college football fans descended on Tampa Bay the past few days and those outside the stadium Monday afternoon loved what they saw.

Here's what was seen and heard all afternoon around Ray Jay:

8:00 p.m.: Kickoff.

7:30 p.m.: Massive traffic jams surround Raymond James Stadium. Nobody is getting anywhere fast.

7:10 p.m.: Plenty of televisions glowing in the darkness outside Ray Jay, especially in the RV lot. Fans still tailgating strong.

6:20 p.m.: Overhead outside Ray Jay gate: "Any tickets? " Answer: "I got two up top. They're not together and $1,500 each."

5:35 p.m.: Raymond James Stadium gates have opened. Large throngs of fans moving in.

5:00 p.m.: Country music star Dierks Bentley hits the stage at a rocking tailgate party that featureed multiple performers and both the Alabama and Clemson bands.

4:35 p.m.: RV lots across from Raymond James Stadium has been packed since this morning, and they are still rolling in.

4:00 p.m.: Not sure if this game is a big deal or not. ESPN only has 12 trucks outside Ray Jay, about 70,000 feet of cable laid out, 90 cameras and 150 mikes. And fans can watch different game perspectives on six ESPN networks.

3:15 p.m.: Fan turn out looks about even, 50 percent Tide, 50 percent Tigers. Plenty of crimson and orange to go around.

2:50 p.m.: About three hours until the stadium gates open. Growing crowd coming in security gates smooth and orderly.

2:00 p.m.: Ricky Loflin dressed for the occasion, with a costume part Darth Vader, part Jason from Friday the 13th and all Crimson. He says his 'bama character doesn't have a name but he came from Tallahassee to "show love for University of Alabama, put a few smiles on people's faces and support the team."

1:15 p.m.: Tight security around stadium perimeter. Heavy show of arms. Large law enforcement presence.

12:30 p.m.: Lots have been open for about an hour, traffic building around Raymond James Stadium. Lots filling up fast.