NCAA Talk

Deshaun Watson, Clemson dethrone Alabama in thrilling national championship

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Deshaun Watson, Clemson dethrone Alabama in thrilling national championship

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Deshaun Watson took the snap, rolled right and with one of the easiest throws he had to make all night, completed Clemson's journey to the top of college football.

A frantic fourth quarter and a championship rematch between Clemson and Alabama was decided with 1 second left on a 2-yard touchdown toss to Hunter Renfrow.

"I couldn't hear the crowd," Watson said. "I just felt at peace."

Watson and the Tigers dethroned the defending champs and became the first team to beat Nick Saban's Alabama dynasty in a national title game, taking down the top-ranked Crimson Tide 35-31 Monday night in the College Football Playoff.

A 35-year title drought for Clemson is over. The Tigers are national champions for the first time since 1981.

A year after Alabama won its fourth title under Saban with a classic 45-40 win in Arizona, Clemson (14-1) denied the Tide (14-1) an unprecedented fifth championship in eight seasons.

"That has to be one of the greatest games of all time," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.

Hard to argue.

The new champions have a process of their own that includes a loquacious coach who can turn a postgame interview into a fiery sermon, a spectacular quarterback who did not need a Heisman Trophy to show he was the best player in the country and a fun-loving team that plays with a chip on its shoulder.

"There was no upset tonight," Swinney said. "That's the last thing I told them when we left the locker room. I said, `When we win the game tonight I don't want to hear one word about this being an upset. The only upset is going to be if we don't win the dadgum game.'"

The lead changed hands three times in the fourth quarter, but Watson got the ball last. Playing in his final college game, the junior quarterback threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns. In two games against Alabama and the most ferocious defense in college football, Watson has thrown for 825 yards and accounted for eight touchdowns. He was sacked four times Monday night and took some cringe-inducing shots from All-Americans Jonathan Allen and Reuben Foster.

"You know, I never got the sense that he was rattled," Allen said about Watson.

Swinney, the native Alabaman and former Crimson Tide walk-on receiver, has built an elite program at Clemson that was missing only one thing. Now the Tigers can check that box, too.

"Eight years ago we set out to put Clemson back on top," Swinney said. "We came up a little short last year, but today on top of the mountain, the Clemson flag is flying."

After three quarters of body slams and tight defense, Tigers-Tide II ended up looking a lot like the first meeting when the teams combined for 40 points in the fourth quarter.

Watson found Mike Williams for a 4-yard touchdown a minute into the fourth quarter to make it 24-21 Alabama.

The Tigers took their first lead, 28-24, with 4:38 left in the fourth quarter when Wayne Gallman surged in from a yard out.

The Tide's offense, which had gone dormant for most of the second half, came to life with the help of a sweet call from newly promoted offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Receiver ArDarius Stewart took a backward pass from Jalen Hurts and fired a strike to O.J. Howard for 24 yards.

On the next play, Hurts broke free from a collapsing pocket and weaved through defenders for a 30-yard touchdown run to make it 31-28 with 2:07 left.

More than enough time for Watson.

"I was calm," Watson said. He said he thought about Vince Young's last-second touchdown for Texas that derailed the Southern California's championship run in the 2005 championship game at the Rose Bowl. He told his team: "Let's go be great."

Watson hooked up with Williams and Jordan Leggett, who made great catches for big gains to get to first-and-goal with 14 seconds left.

A pass interference on Alabama made it first-and-goal at the 2 with six seconds left. Time for one more play to avoid a game-tying kick and overtime. Renfrow slipped away from the defense at the goal line with the help of some traffic created by Artavis Scott - or maybe it was an illegal pick? - and was alone for an easy toss.

"If you watch the ending, the slot receiver actually cut Minkah," Alabama linebacker Tim Williams said. "Usually, on a pick route, you're not supposed to chop somebody. You're supposed to pick them. The guy there just chopped Minkah down, but it's football."

For the former walk-on Renfrow, it was his second TD catch of the game. He had two last season against Alabama.

Alabama was 4-0 in national championship games under Saban. It was 106-6 in games it led at half and 96-0 when entering the fourth quarter with a double-digit lead as the Tide did Monday night. Clemson overcame all those odds.

The Tide jumped out to a 14-0 lead behind two long touchdown runs by Bo Scarbrough in the first half. The 230-pound sophomore back was pretty much Alabama's whole offense for a while, running for 93 yards on 16 carries while Hurts and the passing game struggle. Scarbrough left in the third quarter with a leg injury, but the Tide finally found some other help. Hurts hooked up with O.J. Howard, one of last year's heroes for `Bama, for a 68-yard touchdown pass to make it 24-14 late in the third quarter.

"Look, there's not one play in the game that makes a difference in a game," Saban said. "We could have done a lot of things a lot better."

When it ended, Clemson's 315-pound defensive lineman Christian Wilkins did a split and a cartwheel and Ben Boulware, one of the toughest linebackers in the country, was in tears.

The Tigers had snapped Alabama's 26-game winning streak and beaten a No. 1 team for the first time ever.

"It's been 35 long years!" Boulware screamed. "It's coming home baby! It's coming home!"

Last season Alabama met its match in Clemson, but prevailed. This time, Clemson made sure the sequel had a different ending.

NBC Sports Chicago announces 2017-18 college basketball schedule

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NBC Sports Chicago announces 2017-18 college basketball schedule

Men’s and Women’s Game Schedule includes area contests featuring UIC, Illinois State, Loyola, Bradley, SIU, EIU, Valparaiso, Northern Iowa, Drake, DePaul, Northwestern, and more!

Local coverage begins with the UIC Flames hosting St. Joseph’s on Monday, November 13 at 7:00 PM CT featuring Jordan Bernfield & David Kaplan with the game call!

NBC Sports Chicago live stream available 24/7 on NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive  or via the NBC Sports app

Chicago, IL (November 6, 2017) – NBC Sports Chicago, the multi-platform home for the most games and the most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox, is ready to bring college hoops fans another exciting season of action-packed NCAA basketball featuring a total of 65 men’s & women’s contests, featuring many of the area’s top teams and players.

NBC Sports Chicago viewers can look forward to the very best in local/regional basketball action featuring the Horizon League’s UIC Flames (eight games), along with Missouri Valley Conference action highlighted by Loyola (eight games), Northern Iowa (eight games), Bradley (seven games), Illinois State (five games), Southern Illinois (four games), Drake (four games), Valparaiso (three games), along with MVC #1-ranked pre-season favorite Missouri St. (ten games), plus – live coverage of the always-competitive MVC Tournament beginning March 1.  NOTE: NBC Sports Chicago live stream also available to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers on NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive or via the NBC Sports app.

NBC Sports Chicago’s early season men’s collegiate basketball schedule gets underway with the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) Flames hosting St. Joseph’s on Monday, November 13 at 7:00 PM CT LIVE from the UIC Pavilion.  The game announcing tandem for Flames games on NBC Sports Chicago this season features Jordan Bernfield (play-by-play) and NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan (analyst).  NOTE: ESPN Radio 1000’s Jonathan Hood will be filling in for Kaplan as game analyst for the UIC match-ups against DePaul and Wright St.  In addition, Bernfield will also handle play-by-play duties for every Loyola game on NBC Sports Chicago’s schedule this season, which also features ESPN Radio 1000’s Jeff Dickerson handling color analysis.

Among the key regional match-ups on the schedule this season include UIC at Loyola (Dec. 2), DePaul at UIC (Dec. 9), UIC at Illinois St. (Dec. 19), SIU at Northern Iowa (Dec. 28), Bradley vs. Loyola (Jan. 13 & Jan. 31), Drake at Northern Iowa (Jan. 16), Missouri St. at SIU (Feb. 14), and Bradley at Valparaiso (Feb. 17) among many others. Note the attached schedule for a complete list of men’s games this season on NBC Sports Chicago and on NBC Sports Chicago+.

NBC Sports Chicago’s women’s basketball schedule includes six games featuring USA Today Coaches Poll pre-season #20-ranked/four-time defending Big East Conf. champion DePaul Blue Demons the first Blue Demons telecast taking place on Saturday, December 30 at 7:00 PM CT live from the brand new Wintrust Arena in downtown Chicago vs. St. John’s.  Additional DePaul match-ups on NBC Sports Chicago’s schedule include games against Marquette (Jan. 4), Xavier (Jan. 12), Creighton (Feb. 2), Providence (Feb. 4), and Georgetown (Feb. 16).  In addition, NBC Sports Chicago will also carry the Big Ten’s Northwestern Wildcats in action on Dec. 16 at Missouri St. (note the attached schedule for a complete listing of women’s games this season).

IMPORTANT NOTE: Numerous men’s and women’s games on NBC Sports Chicago’s college basketball schedule this season will air exclusively on NBC Sports Chicago+. NBC Sports Chicago+ (NBCSCH+) is available in high-definition on Comcast/Xfinity ch. 201 in the Chicago area/South Bend, IN & on Comcast/Xfinity ch. 285 in the Peoria, Springfield, Rockford and Champaign markets, along with being made available in DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T, RCN, and WOW! homes among numerous other carriers and streaming services; viewers are urged to visit NBCSportsChicago.com’s CHANNEL FINDER page for complete channel location details.

In addition to game coverage, NBC Sports Chicago will once again provide college basketball fans with team college coaches show this season (air dates may vary during the season) – Tuesdays (beginning in early December): Inside Notre Dame Basketball with Mike Brey (5:30 PM)…Wednesdays (beginning in late December): The Foundation: Northwestern Basketball (5:30 PM)...and The Steve Prohm Show: Iowa State Basketball (Season Preview Special - Mon, Dec. 11 at 5:30 PM; weekly airings on Mondays at 5:30 PM begin in January).

2017-18 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL on NBC SPORTS CHICAGO & NBC SPORTS CHICAGO+

  1. Mon, Nov 13    11:00 am   Jacksonville St. @ Richmond   LIVE
  2. Mon, Nov 13      7:00 pm    UIC:  St. Joseph’s @ UIC           LIVE
  3. Mon, Nov 13     7:00 pm     UNI:  Alcorn State @ Northern Iowa    LIVE   NBCSCH+
  4. Wed, Nov 29      6:00 pm    Vermont @ Richmond     LIVE   NBCSCH+
  5. Fri, Dec 1            7:00 pm      Bradley:  E. Illinois @ Bradley    LIVE   NBCSCH+
  6. Sat, Dec 2            3:00 pm     Loyola:  UIC @ Loyola             LIVE
  7. Sat, Dec 2            3:00 pm        IL ST:  Tulsa @ Illinois State   LIVE   NBCSCH+
  8. Sat, Dec 2            7:00 pm       Missouri St. @ S. Dakota State   LIVE   NBCSCH+
  9. Mon, Dec 4         7:00 pm        Missouri St. @ N Dakota St   LIVE
  10. Thu, Dec 7           7:00 pm       UNI:  UT-Arlington @ Northern Iowa      LIVE
  11. Sat, Dec 9             3:00 pm       UIC:  DePaul @ UIC              LIVE
  12. Sat, Dec 9       3:00 pm        IL ST:  Murray State @ Illinois State      LIVE   NBCSCH+ 
  13. Sat, Dec 9         5:00 pm     James Madison @ Richmond      LIVE     NBCSCH+
  14. Sun, Dec 10             3:00 pm       Missouri St @ Oral Roberts  LIVE      NBCSCH+
  15. Tue, Dec 19              7:00 pm      IL ST:  UIC @ Illinois State         LIVE
  16. Fri, Dec 22                8:00 pm       MVC:  Loyola @ Missouri State    LIVE
  17. Sat, Dec 23               1:00 pm       MVC:  Illinois State @ Evansville    LIVE               
  18. Thu, Dec 28              7:00 pm       MVC:  Valparaiso @ Indiana State   LIVE
  19. Thu, Dec 28    7:00 pm   MVC:  Southern Illinois @ Northern Iowa  LIVE   NBCSCH+
  20. Sat, Dec 30               3:00 pm        MVC:  Evansville @ Loyola     LIVE
  21. Sun, Dec 31             3:00 pm         MVC: Missouri St @ Valparaiso   LIVE  NBCSCH+
  22. Wed, Jan 3                7:00 pm         MVC:  Indiana St @ Loyola         LIVE   NBCSCH+
  23. Sat, Jan 6                  3:00 pm         MVC:  Southern Illinois @ Valparaiso     LIVE
  24. Wed, Jan 10     6:00 pm  MVC:  Northern Iowa @ Indiana State    LIVE   NBCSCH+
  25. Sat, Jan 13                3:00 pm         MVC:  Bradley @ Loyola         LIVE
  26. Sun, Jan 14              2:00 pm         MVC:  Indiana St @ Missouri St       LIVE                                       
  27. Mon, Jan 15             7:00 pm         UIC:  Oakland @ UIC    LIVE
  28. Tue, Jan 16               7:00 pm         MVC:  Drake @ Northern Iowa    LIVE
  29. Wed, Jan 17             6:00 pm         MVC:  Bradley @ Illinois State    LIVE
  30. Wed, Jan 17        7:00 pm    MVC:  Southern Illinois @ Loyola     LIVE   NBCSCH+
  31. Sat, Jan 20                3:00 pm           MVC:  Missouri St. @ Drake     LIVE
  32. Tue, Jan 23               7:00 pm           MVC:  Missouri St. @ Bradley   LIVE
  33. Sat, Jan 27                3:00 pm           UIC:  IUPUI @ UIC    LIVE
  34. Wed, Jan 31             7:00 pm            MVC:  Loyola @ Bradley       LIVE   NBCSCH+
  35. Sat, Feb 3           3:00 pm      MVC:  Indiana St @ Northern Iowa     LIVE   NBCSCH+
  36. Tue, Feb 6           6:00 pm      MVC:  Missouri St. @ Indiana St       LIVE   NBCSCH+
  37. Wed, Feb 7               7:00 pm            MVC:  Drake @ Loyola         LIVE
  38. Thu, Feb 8             7:00 pm        UIC:  Youngstown State @ UIC LIVE   NBCSCH+
  39. Sat, Feb 10                3:00 pm            MVC:  Northern Iowa @ Drake         LIVE
  40. Tue, Feb 13          7:00 pm      MVC:  Evansville @ Northern Iowa   LIVE   NBCSCH+
  41. Wed, Feb 14     7:00 pm     MVC:  Missouri St. @ Southern Illinois   LIVE   NBCSCH+
  42. Sat, Feb 17                8:00 pm            MVC:  Bradley @ Valparaiso         LIVE
  43. Wed, Feb 21     7:00 pm     MVC:  Bradley @ Missouri St.    LIVE   NBCSCH+               
  44. Sat, Feb 24           5:00 pm       St. Joseph’s @ Richmond          LIVE   NBCSCH+
  45. Sun, Feb 28               5:00 pm            UIC:  Wright State @ UIC          LIVE
  46. Thu, Mar 1                6:00 pm            MVC Tournament - Opening Round #1    LIVE
  47. Thu, Mar 1                8:30 pm            MVC Tournament - Opening Round #2     LIVE
  48. Fri, Mar 2                  12:00 pm         MVC Tournament – Quarterfinal #1        LIVE
  49. Fri, Mar 2                  2:30 pm            MVC Tournament – Quarterfinal #2          LIVE
  50. Fri, Mar 2                  6:00 pm            MVC Tournament – Quarterfinal #3         LIVE
  51. Fri, Mar 2                  8:30 pm            MVC Tournament – Quarterfinal #4      LIVE
     

2017-18 WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL on NBC SPORTS CHICAGO & NBC SPORTS CHICAGO+

1. Tue, Nov 14               7:00 pm            Iowa State @ Northern Iowa         LIVE
2. Sun, Nov 19            2:00 pm       Missouri @ Missouri State    LIVE  NBCSCH+
3. Wed, Nov 29             7:00 pm            Missouri St. @ Wichita St          TBA
4. Sat, Dec 16                2:00 pm            Northwestern @ Missouri St    LIVE         NBCSCH+
5. Sat, Dec 30                7:00 pm            St. Johns @ DePaul                    LIVE
6. Thu, Jan 4                   7:00 pm            DePaul @ Marquette              LIVE
7. Fri, Jan 12                   5:00 pm            Xavier @ DePaul                    LIVE         NBCSCH+
8. Fri, Jan 12                   7:00 PM           Missouri St @ Illinois State     LIVE         NBCSCH+
9. Mon, Jan 15           1:00 pm      UIC:  Milwaukee @ UIC     LIVE    NBCSCH+ 
10. Fri, Feb 2                  7:00 pm            Creighton @ DePaul                LIVE
11. Sun, Feb 4                2:00 pm            Providence @ DePaul            LIVE
12. Fri, Feb 16                7:00 pm            Georgetown @ DePaul       LIVE         NBCSCH+
13. Sun, Feb 18              3:00 pm            Missouri St @ Valparaiso    LIVE
14. Thu, Mar 1               7:00 pm            Evansville @ Missouri St     LIVE         NBCSCH+  

(Schedules as of 11/6/17)  -- ALL TIMES CENTRAL TIME
SCHEDULES SUBJECT TO CHANGE

Say it ain't so: DePaul commit Tyger Campbell reopens recruitment

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AP

Say it ain't so: DePaul commit Tyger Campbell reopens recruitment

It looks like it was too good to be true.

Tyger Campbell shocked the recruiting world when he committed to DePaul on May 8.

Less than four months later, Campbell has reopened his recruitment.

The Rivals.com four-star point guard out of La Lumiere High School in Indiana, who is the No. 66 prospect in the 2018 Class, took to Twitter Friday night to explain his decision.

One of Campbell's original draws to the Blue Demons was DePaul hiring Shane Heirman as an assistant coach. Heirman coached Campbell for two seasons at La Lumiere.

"I like DePaul and honestly my coach (Shane Heirman) just went there and we have a great connection and he's always had my back," Campbell told Scout.com when he committed to the Blue Demons. "I like [DePaul] coach Dave Leitao, too. I like his program and he's an intelligent guy."

Campbell currently has offers from a handful of D1 schools, including Illinois, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Purdue, SMU, Memphis and Tennessee.