The boys in orange and white seem to dominate college football on its biggest stage.
Watching the CFP National Championship on Monday night, I got the feeling that we were witnessing a performance that topped even Vince Young’s magical game against USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl.
Watson was unbelievable. So was Young, who arguably didn’t have the better receiving corps between the two (Mike Williams. Artavis Scott. Jordan Leggett. C’mon.)
Watson was 36 of 56 for 420 yards, three TDs and no INTs. He added 43 rushing yards and another TD on the ground.
Mack Brown’s Texas offense for Vince Young certainly didn’t emphasize airing it out as much as Clemson’s does. Young went 30 for 40 for 267 yards, no TDs and no INTs. So Young used his feet instead, rushing 19 times for 200 yards and three TDs. Remarkable, the two pivots gained almost the exact same number of yards (Young 467, Watson 463).
It’s hard to argue over stats who was better, but it comes down to this: Alabama was such a stronger opponent than the Matt-and-Reggie show. Alabama’s team this year was one of the best teams over the last decade. Moreover, Nick Saban’s Alabama defense was almost certainly stronger than USC’s.
Watson totally rose above it all and played a near-perfect game.
Alabama (via cfbstats.com): 11.4 ppg allowed, 62 rush ypg allowed, 182 passing ypg allowed
USC (via sports-reference.com): 21.3 ppg allowed, 117 rush ypg allowed, 227 passing ypg allowed
CBS Sports asked the same question: who was better? Was it Watson or Young?
Per Ben Kercheval: “There are similarities between the two. Young, like Watson, finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting when he won the national title. Also like Watson, Young had a career day with 467 yards of offense and three touchdowns — including the game winner. Both were heavily involved in the success of their respective offenses.
Watson and Young made history in different ways. Watson relied more on his arm while Young made a greater impact with his legs. Both beat the greatest team at the time of the game and the defenses they faced had their fair share of future NFL draftees.
When the numbers are stacked side-by-side, Watson, even without the aid of having beat Alabama twice, was better.
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and hyperbole, but we’re not doing that here. We witnessed history Monday night.”
According to the Austin American Statesman’s Kevin Lyttle, Deshaun Watson was actually thinking of Young as he tossed the game-winning score to Hunter Renfrew with :01 seconds on the clock.
“In the aftermath late Monday, ESPN’s Rece Davis asked Watson if he could drawn up a scenario better than throwing the winning TD pass with “a single tick left.”
“Not really, man. But the thing that was running through my mind was Vince Young,” Watson said.
“I was just like, ‘man, we have to be great, and I want to be legendary. Vince Young was one of my greatest players that I love to watch, and we pulled it off.”
Watson also told this to SportingNews’ Bill Bender: “Just remember that last night and sitting in my mom’s room because I always have football on, and just seeing him really running to the corner of the end zone and kind of jumping up, and then at the end just seeing all the confetti come down,” Watson said at the post-game press conference. “It’s one of those games that last night where it just came down to the very end, and he pulled it out, and I did the same thing for my team.”
We witnessed history on Monday night. Deshaun Watson played the greatest game of the last 15 years. Maybe even the last 100 years.
(Main Photo: GETTY IMAGES)