NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Local Clemson fans rejoice over title

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When Jalen Hurts scored the go-ahead touchdown with just over two minutes to go, Teri Hurst’s husband wasn’t worried, she said.

“He told me they were going to pull it off and they did,” Hurst said of Clemson’s 35-31 victory over Alabama in Monday’s College Football Playoff national championship game. “We watched the game last year and it was disappointing, but this year we just felt like they were going to pull it out.

“All you heard this year was ‘Alabama.’ So to win like that was pretty satisfying.”

Not everyone was so sure as the Tigers needed a last-second touchdown throw from quarterback Deshaun Watson to wide receiver Hunter Renfrow to pull out the victory.

“I had doubts that they were going to pull it out, but they did it,” Thomas Sumter Academy’s Scott Spivey said. “It felt pretty great, being able to come back and beat (Alabama) like that. It was really cool.”

Joy and satisfaction are likely the two predominant words that come to mind for Clemson fans the day after their team captured the school’s second national title.

It was especially rewarding for not only the dramatic finish, but the measure of redemption gained against the team that beat them in the championship game last year, Susan Elmore said.

“It was very sweet to do it against ‘Bama,” she said. “To be honest, we were getting a little tired of ‘Bama, so I’m glad we were the ones that were able to bring them down.”

Aside from that, the victory was an especially sweet one for the Elmore household that features multiple CU alumni.

“Both my husband and I graduated from Clemson,” Elmore said. “We were thrilled that we could bring the championship back to Clemson for the fans and for (head coach) Dabo (Swinney) and the players.”

The game itself was an emotional roller coaster, with the Tigers needing to rally from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to pull off the upset over the top-ranked Crimson Tide.

“Emotions were definitely up and down the whole game,” she said. “We were nervous, but when (the last Tigers touchdown was scored) we jumped up and screamed and hugged.

“It was just pure joy.”