Alabama Holds Off Clemson For National Title
GLENDALE, Ariz. (KFSM) – The SEC had it’s crown taken away over the past two seasons but Monday night Alabama took it back.
The Crimson Tide used a pair of crucial special teams plays to hold off No. 1 Clemson, 45-40, to claim the College Football Playoff national championship.
Tied at 24 in the fourth quarter, Alabama successfully pulled off a surprise onside kick. O.J. Howard hauled in a 51 yard touchdown pass from Jake Coker two plays later to put Clemson in a 31-24 hole.
The Tigers answered with a field goal but the ensuing kickoff provided the difference in a back-and-forth contest. Kenyon Drake fielded the kick at the five, reversed field and raced 95 yards for a score. The return put Alabama up two scores and gave Nick Saban his fifth national championship (fourth with Alabama).
Clemson scored on a pair of Deshaun Watson touchdown passes in the final 4:40 but a Derrick Henry one yard touchdown run with 1:07 left helped keep the Tigers down. Clemson’s final score came with 12 seconds left but the ensuing onside kick attempt went out of bounds.
Henry finished with 158 yards rushing and three touchdowns but the rest of the Crimson Tide was held to minus-20 yards on the ground. Jake Coker threw for 335 yards and two scores, both to tight end O.J. Howard. Howard finished with a game high 208 yards receiving on five catches.
Watson accounted for 478 yards of total offense (405 passing, 73 rushing) and four passing touchdowns.