GLENDALE, Arizona. (AP) – Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide have nailed down another national championship. The Tide are champions for the fourth time in seven years following a wild 45-40 win over Clemson at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
It is Saban’s fifth national championship, one shy of former Tide coach Bear Bryant for the most all-time.
Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry carried 36 times for 158 yards and three touchdowns. He scored twice in the first half and iced the victory by running for a one-yard TD with 1:07 remaining. Henry opened the scoring with a 50-yard TD scamper in the first quarter.
Jake Coker was 16 of 25 for 335 yards and two touchdowns. Coker hit O.J. Howard for touchdowns of 53 and 51 yards in the second half, with each putting Alabama ahead.
Howard also had a 63-yard reception on a screen pass in the second half. He finished with five catches for 208 yards, the most receiving yards for an Alabama player in a bowl game.
The Crimson Tide’s other touchdown came on Kenyan Drake’s 95-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter, which followed a Clemson field goal.
The Tigers failed to become the first team to go 15-0 in a season despite a strong game by Deshaun Watson, who completed 30 of 47 passes for 405 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Watson also had 73 yards on 20 carries.
Clemson was seeking its first national championship since 1981.
The Tide finish 14-1, with the lone loss coming at home against Mississippi on Sept. 19.