Crimson Tide tames Tigers in thriller

Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:07am EST
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(The Sports Xchange) - Alabama won a fourth national title in seven years with a thrilling 45-40 victory over Clemson on Monday, the victory built on a quartet of long-range scoring plays and the recovery of an onside kick in the fourth quarter.

Heisman Trophy-winning running back Derrick Henry sealed the outcome with a one-yard touchdown run with 1:07 remaining, stretching Alabama's lead to 45-33.

The Tigers battled to the end in a wild fourth quarter that featured a combined 40 points.

Quarterback Deshaun Watson's 24-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Leggett with 12 seconds remaining brought Clemson within a score but the ensuing onside kick went out of bounds.

Alabama tight end O.J. Howard had five catches for 208 yards and two touchdowns. Henry ran 36 times for 158 yards and three touchdowns, including a 50-yard burst to start the scoring.

He was not able to get free much in the second half but quarterback Jake Coker connected on scoring passes of 53 and 51 yards to Howard after the break. Coker finished 16-for-25 for 335 yards.

Alabama's fireworks on offense were enough to offset a brilliant effort from Watson, who dazzled with his arm, his legs and dizzying improvisation skills.

He completed 30-of-47 passes for 405 yards and four touchdowns, and he ran 20 times for 73 yards.

After several big-bowl blowouts, Alabama and Clemson put a whopper of the topper on the college football season in front of 75,765 at University of Phoenix Stadium.   Continued...

Jan 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide players celebrate after defeating the Clemson Tigers in the 2016 CFP National Championship at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports