Penn State players, coaches and alumni had plenty to say as Clemson upset undefeated Alabama in a highly entertaining 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship game.
The 35-31 thriller that started Monday and ended Tuesday was (only maybe sorta slightly OK) better than the Rose Bowl between Penn State and USC last week. With pad-popping hits and eye-popping plays, the championship game lived up to the hype, culminating in a last-second Deshaun Watson touchdown pass to win it for the Tigers.
Just ask Penn State junior cornerback Grant Haley:
This game— Grant Haley (@haleyboy10) January 10, 2017
Senior running back Irvin Paye admired Watson's pooch punt, which was shades of former Philadelphia Eagle Randall Cunningham. A Penn Stater is required to admire a good punt.
That was a good kick by Deshaun Watson.— Irvine Paye (@1rvinepaye) January 10, 2017
After Monday night/Tuesday morning's fireworks on a big stage at Raymond James Stadium, we couldn't agree more with Charles Huff, Penn State's special teams coordinator/running backs coach:
To Win The Game...#LoveCollegeFootball— Charles C. Huff (@CoachHuff) January 10, 2017
The back-and-forth contest heated up in the second half, particularly in the fourth quarter and the game-winning touchdown catch by Clemson's Hunter Renfrow. It got so spicy, legendary former Nittany Lion running back Ki-Jana Carter nearly cussed on social media.
Senior linebacker Nyeem Wartman-White had probably the tweet of the night. Earlier in the week, Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin "mutually" parted ways so Kiffin could focus on his new gig at Florida Atlantic. That left former offensive analyst Steve Sarkisian to take over Kiffin's offensive coordinator role for the Tide. While the offense put up points, it sputtered at times. Was Kiffin the difference?
Larry Johnson, he of the famed 2,000 yards-plus rushing season in 2002, went in even stronger on the Kiffin situation:
When you publicly embarrass and fire your O.C. Before National Championship game and lose....that's called karma #nationalchampionship— Larry Johnson (@2LarryJohnson7) January 10, 2017
Backup quarterback Tommy Stevens threw his (very, very, very, very late and ineligible) 2016 Heisman vote behind Watson following the game.
Quit playing and give @DeshaunWatson4 the heisman that he deserved— Tommy Stevens (@TMS_II) January 10, 2017
Senior linebacker Brandon Bell retweeted a widely shared thought from journalist Kevin Blackistone about player compensation.
Dabo Swinney got $100k for coaching #NationalChampionship win, $200k for Top 5 finish, $400k for making title game. Players? Ah, memories.— Kevin B. Blackistone (@ProfBlackistone) January 10, 2017
Freshman defensive end Shane Simmons knew what was in store from the Pitt community, which has been tweeting at Penn State players and recruits ever since last September's three-point win at Heinz Field. Pitt also knocked off Clemson later in the year -- the Tigers' lone loss.
Pitt fans are gonna hype up their win over Clemson now.— Shane Simmons (@Shizzeee_) January 10, 2017
Well, what do you know: The Pitt program did the hyping themselves with a self-serving tweet. Guess they won't learn after Sunday's roasting ...
Keeping with the Pitt theme, former defensive back Stephen Obeng-Agyapong, who lettered with the Nittany Lions in 2011, 2012 and 2013, brought the absolute lumber to some Pitt fan online:
Y'all still trash fam https://t.co/kweZQzZ5xc— Stephen (@BigBENGTheory7) January 10, 2017
One of the newest Nittany Lions, early enrollee defensive back Lamont Wade, was already looking ahead after the final whistle. Maybe too far ahead? Hey, it doesn't hurt to dream:
Nittany Nation, y'all ready to be next ???— Lamont Wade (@Goony_38) January 10, 2017
Go State, Beat Akron.