85 combined points. 40 scored in the fourth quarter. The most passing yards and receiving yards by a single player in National Title Game history. A punishing performance from one of college football’s best players to the tune of 36 carries, 158 yards, and 3 scores. We hope you didn’t miss a second of this year’s National Championship game, because it was an instant classic.
Before Nick Saban’s team could win their fourth title in just seven years, they had to survive a jaw-dropping performance from Clemson QB Deshaun Watson. The sophomore threw for a record-setting 405 yards and 4 TDs in addition to the 73 yards he tallied on the ground. He seemed simply unstoppable.
So, early in the fourth quarter, after Alabama settled for a field goal to tie the game at 24 and with Deshaun ready to take the field again, Coach Saban made a decision that turned the tides (pun intended) of the game and is sure be talked about for decades. He called a surprise onside kick. With a perfect kick from ’Bama kicker Adam Griffith, the Tide easily recovered and quickly scored two plays later to take the lead for good.
A huge factor in Alabama’s 45-40 win was their high-powered offense, led by the National Player of the Year Derrick Henry. The bruising running back got things rolling in the first with a 50-yard rumble into the end zone for the first score. Henry would continue to dominate as the game went on, but his squad’s passing game got a huge performance from an unlikely contributor: TE O.J. Howard.
Despite never getting more than 70 receiving yards in a game during the season, Howard exploded for two scores and 208 yards. His two TD receptions went for 53 and 51 yards. Incredibly, his longest catch of the game surpassed both of those, reaching 63 yards.
What a game. Whether you are a lifelong, die-hard Alabama fan or just want to commemorate this epic win, Eastbay has all the national title fan gear you need right here. Roll Tide!