Alabama defeats Clemson, 45-40, to win College Football Playoff title

Alabama defeated Clemson, 45-40, in the College Football Playoff championship game on Monday in Glendale, Ariz. to give Coach Nick Saban his fifth national title, including four in the last seven seasons.

Crimson Tide tight end O.J. Howard had 208 yards receiving and two touchdowns while Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry scored three times.

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson passed for 405 yards with four touchdown throws and rushed for another 73 yards in the Tigers’ first loss of the season. Receiver Hunter Renfrow caught seven passes for 88 yards, two of those were touchdown receptions in the first quarter.

PHOTO GALLERY: Alabama vs. Clemson

Coin toss: Clemson wins the toss and defers. The Tigers will receive the ball to start the second half.

First quarter:

  • Derrick Henry runs 50 yards for a touchdown (Alabama 7, Clemson 0) 7:55
  • Hunter Renfrow catches a 31-yard pass from Deshaun Watson for a touchdown (Alabama 7, Clemson 7) 5:18
  • Hunter Renfrow catches an 11-yard pass from Deshaun Watson for a touchdown (Clemson 14, Alabama 7) 0:00

Second quarter:

  • Derrick Henry dives into the end zone for a touchdown from the one-yard line (Clemson 14, Alabama 14) 9:35

Third quarter:

  • O.J. Howard catches a deep pass from Jake Coker and goes 53 yards for a touchdown (Alabama 21, Clemson 14) 12:53
  • Greg Huegel hits a 37 yard field goal (Alabama 21, Clemson 17) 10:10
  • Wayne Gallman runs one-yard for a touchdown (Clemson 24, Alabama 21) 4:48

Fourth quarter:

  • Adam Griffith makes a 33 yard field goal (Clemson 24, Alabama 24) 10:34
  • O.J. Howard catches a 51 yard pass from Joke Coker for a touchdown (Alabama 31, Clemson 24) 9:45
  • Greg Huegel makes a 31 yard field goal (Alabama 31, Clemson 27) 7:47
  • Kenyan Drake returns kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown (Alabama 38, Clemson 27) 7:31
  • Artavis Scott catches a 15 yard throw from Deshaun Watson for a touchdown -- Clemson failed to convert the two-point try (Alabama 38, Clemson 33) 4:40
  • Derrick Henry goes one yard for a touchdown (Alabama 45, Clemson 33) 1:07
  • Jordan Leggett catches a 24-yard pass for a touchdown (Alabama 45, Clemson 40) 0:12

GIF: Nick Saban wins his fifth national title


Alabama 45, Clemson 33 -- 1:07 left in the fourth quarter

Third and goal, Derrick Henry spun and barely made it across the goal line — but he did.

Alabama touchdown.

The Crimson Tide went 75 yards in eight plays and took a critical 3:33 off the clock.

O.J. Howard has been the hero of the game for Alabama.

The junior tight end caught a 63-yard pass and sprinted down the sideline to Clemson’s 14-yard line. He has caught five passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns.

On third and three, Jake Coker beat Clemson — with his feet - as he scrambled and dove for what likely will be the most important first-down of the game if Alabama holds on to win.

Clemson will have the ball on its own 42-yard line.


Video: Huegel makes 31 yard field goal


Jake Coker sacked, again

Jake Coker was sacked for a fifth time and Alabama punted.

It was the third sack of the game for Kevin Dodd.

Derrick Henry then rushed for six yards in consecutive carries and the Crimson Tide punted.

Alabama’s offensive line, and Coker, have clearly been disrupted.


ICYMI: Lane Kiffin celebrates a touchdown before the catch


Alabama 21, Clemson 14 -- 12:53 left in the third quarter

Lane Kiffin designed a play for a tight end - and what do you know - it resulted in a touchdown.

Jake Coker completed the 53-yard pass to O.J. Howard for his first touchdown reception of the season.

Derrick Henry rushed for four yards and Coker completed a seven-yard pass to Kenyan Drake before he threw the long touchdown strike.

Howard was wide open along the sideline and ran into the end zone, untouched.