The College Football Playoff National Championship Game between Alabama and Clemson featured two teams whose campuses are more than 1,500 miles from Utah, but a bevy of local connections played out on Twitter during the contest.
A look at five of them:
1. New Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley is a genius
Just a little more than 30 minutes before the game began, new Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley tweeted the following about special teams, which he coached for the Utes last season.
Something to keep an eye on in this NC Game: although Clemson ranked #1 in Off & Def in the ACC, they ranked dead last in Special Teams.— Morgan Scalley (@SafetyPride) January 12, 2016
Through the first 49 minutes of Monday's game, the tweet didn't hold much significance, and the score was knotted at 24 apiece.
Then the Crimson Tide successfully executed a surprise onside kick, which led to a touchdown, giving Nick Saban's team the 31-24 advantage.
After a Tigers field goal made it 31-27, special teams showed up again, as Alabama's Kenyan Drake returned the kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, and Clemson couldn't rally back from there.
Following the two plays, Utah kicker Andy Phillips summarized what was happening with this tweet:
Special teams wins games!— Andy Phillips (@AndyDPhillips) January 12, 2016
2. Locals chide Pac-12 officiating crew
For a few years now, Pac-12 game officials have been the target of a great deal of deserved criticism from the Twitterverse, with #Pac12Refs becoming a popular hashtag on the social media site.
With a crew from the conference officiating Monday's game, many were nervous there would be some questionable calls that could shape the contest's outcome.
While there was nothing that ended up being of too much significance on the zebra front, there were two instances that caught the ire of folks who are all too familiar with Pac-12 refs.
The first came right before halftime, as the Tigers got a first down but the clock didn't stop, forcing Clemson coach Dabo Swinney to call a timeout. The Tigers didn't score on the drive.
Dabo, welcome to the #Pac12refs experience.— Blair Angulo (@bangulo) January 12, 2016
Clemson gonna lose by 3 now after getting jobbed at the end of the half. #pac12refs— Coach Amicone (@TrevorAmicone) January 12, 2016
In the fourth quarter, Crimson Tide running back Derrick Henry appeared to cross the goal line for a touchdown, but it took the officials a good bit of time to decide, and then they reviewed the play.
Pac-12 refs!!— Sam Strong (@SamStrong) January 12, 2016
TD? Don't do this PAC 12 refs— Greg Biggins (@GregBiggins) January 12, 2016
3. Cottonwood High alum Cooper Bateman wins title
One player from the Beehive State was part of Monday's game, as Cottonwood High School alum Cooper Bateman served as Alabama's backup quarterback, and multiple locals on Twitter noted the connection:
If Cooper Bateman wins the National Championship so does Cottonwood lol— Gohan (@Taniela_5) January 12, 2016
I wonder how much different the game woulda been if Cooper Bateman never signed my senior yearbook. More than convinced that's why they won— Braden (@nuffinman121) January 12, 2016
The hold was perfect cause it was cooper Bateman from cottonwood doing it— Ethan Erickson (@thedoublee_14) January 12, 2016
4. Utah Jazz's Trevor Booker, Joe Ingles trade barbs
Utah Jazz forward Trevor Booker played collegiately at Clemson before entering the NBA, and showed his school pride after the Tigers won their semifinal game against Oklahoma with this outfit:
After that, he became a target of jokes from team comedian Joe Ingles, and the Australian was relentless Monday night as the game unfolded.
Trevor? Are you ok? @35_Fitz— Joe Ingles (@Joeingles7) January 12, 2016
Book? @35_Fitz— Joe Ingles (@Joeingles7) January 12, 2016
Hey buddy 👋🏻👋🏻👋🏻 RT @35_Fitz: What a game!— Joe Ingles (@Joeingles7) January 12, 2016
Better like next year @35_Fitz... See you tomorrow buddy 👋🏻👋🏻— Joe Ingles (@Joeingles7) January 12, 2016
5. BYU will play next at the University of Phoenix Stadium
Not to be left out of the evening, BYU faithful noted at game's end that the next contest to be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, the site of Monday's showdown, will be between the Cougars and the Arizona Wildcats.
Next college football game @ University of Phoenix Stadium is us... BYU vs Arizona— Josh Weeks (@won__6) January 12, 2016
Ryan McDonald is a sports reporter at DeseretNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanwmcdonald.