The game didn't go the way the Clemson Tigers wanted it, but Hunter Renfrow became a household name during Monday night's national championship game.
The redshirt freshman came into Monday's College Football Playoff National Championship Game with three receiving touchdowns on the season.
He was already close to matching that total after one quarter of play.
Renfrow caught both of Deshaun Watson's first-quarter touchdown passes, propelling the ACC champs to a 14-7 lead over the Alabama Crimson Tide. Renfrow went toe-to-toe with the Heisman Trophy winner, Derrick Henry, and the score reflected that in the second quarter, per Dan Wolken of USA Today:
The Tide edged out Clemson in the title game, winning 45-40. Renfrow finished with seven catches for 88 yards and those two touchdowns.
Despite those touchdowns and etching his name into national title lore for at least a quarter, B/R's Mike Freeman was not having any nonsense come across his timeline:
ESPN's Andrea Adelson talked with Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott earlier this week about which wide receiver was the toughest to stop during practice, and wouldn't you believe it?
Watson has received most of the praise as the star quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist of the only undefeated team left in college football, but through the first quarter of play, as Ben Cohen of the Wall Street Journal noted, Renfrow was the hero:
His first touchdown grab came on a beautifully thrown ball by Watson as Renfrow got behind the secondary and helped Clemson tie the game at 7-7. College GameDay provided a Vine of Watson's throw:
As the first quarter expired, Watson found Renfrow in the back of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown and a one-score lead over the favored Crimson Tide. SportsCenter shared this screenshot, which showed how much Renfrow had to concentrate to make the catch while going to the ground:
The national championship game is a time for stars to step up and shine, but the unknowns such as Renfrow were making a difference early Monday. Renfrow was not a lead character in many of the storylines across America leading up to the contest, but he's becoming a household name, per Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde:
CBS Sports' Jon Solomon thought Renfrow was having the time of his life:
Renfrow was in the right spots at the right time early in Monday's contest, and it benefited Clemson throughout the first half.
Clemson came close to pulling off the upset and winning a national title, but you surely can't blame Renfrow for the Tigers coming up short. He did everything he could, but the former walk-on's great performance was unfortunately not enough.