Alabama's defense struggled to contain Clemson in the first half of the national championship game on Monday night, giving up 31 points in the opening 30 minutes as the Tigers took a 31-16 lead.
The Crimson Tide's defensive struggles were a rarity in 2018. On Monday night, a string of lapses for college football's No. 5 scoring defense allowed Clemson to build a first-half lead.
Nick Saban's defense held opponents under 20 points eight times in 2018, pitching two shutouts in the process. But when did the Crimson Tide defense struggle in 2018?
Alabama ceded 30-plus points twice in 2018. The Tide gave up 31 points to Arkansas on Oct. 6, but the team's worst defensive performance of the season came in the College Football Playoff semifinals. In that game, Alabama gave up 34 points to Oklahoma and Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray in Alabama's 45-34 win.
Clemson's defense gave up 16 points in the first half on Monday. The Tigers lead the NCAA in scoring defense, entering Monday night allowing just 12.9 points per game.