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Clemson conerback AJ Terrell gave his team an early lead when he intercepted Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for a touchdown on the Crimson Tide's first drive of the national title game. 

Terrell took the 44-yard run into the end zone for the Tigers. The drive was capped off with an extra point to give Clemson a 7–0 lead to start their quest for a national title with 13:20 left in the first quarter.

The throw was Tagovailoa's fifth interception of the season. Tagovailoa rebounded strong on Alabama's next drive, throwing a 62-yard touchdown to tie the score. 

The pick-six marked Terrell’s fourth time intercepting a quarterback in his career. The sophomore from Atlanta, Ga., recorded 45 tackles and two interceptions going into Monday night's national championship game.

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