Alabama Vs. Clemson College Football Playoff National Championship Recap: Crimson Tide Crush Tigers 45-40 in Desert Shootout [VIDEO]

Derrick Henry
Derrick Henry #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates by kissing the College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy after defeating the Clemson Tigers in the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Crimson Tide defeated the Tigers with a score of 45 to 40. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Christian Petersen/Getty Images

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry rushed for 158 yards and three touchdowns and Alabama defeated Clemson 45-40 to win their fourth national championship in seven years.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban wins his 5th title, one shy of Bear Bryant's record of six championships. The victory also gives the Crimson Tide their 16th championship in school history, more than any other university in the country.

Alabama quarterback Jake Coker threw for 335 yards and two touchdowns, both of which went to tight end, O.J. Howard who had a career-high five catches for 208 yards and two scores.

Clemson quarterback, DeShaun Watson was 30-of-47 for 405 yards and four touchdowns and one interception in a losing effort. The sophomore QB will return to school next season.

It was all Henry in the first half for the Crimson Tide. The Heisman Trophy winner rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.

Henry put Alabama on the board first when he scampered 50 yards down the field to give the Crimson Tide a 7-0 lead.

But, Clemson had a Heisman candidate of their own, and he made his impact on the first half as well. Watson threw two touchdown passes to freshman walk-on receiver Hunter Renfrow and the teams were tied at 14-14 at halftime.

DeShaun Watson Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers reacts against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Both teams missed field goals in the first half. Clemson was involved in some controversy at the end of the second quarter when Watson picked up a first down inside the red zone with 12 seconds remaining in the half. The clock was supposed to stop, but instead, it continued to run and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was forced to use his final timeout.

"Really, really frustrated with how the clock was handled," Swinney said at halftime. "That's very disappointing. Cost me a timeout."

A mental mistake cost Clemson at the start of the second half as Coker found Howard wide open for a 53-yard touchdown pass. Howard lined up behind a receiver on the play, and Clemson blew the coverage, leaving Howard to streak down the sideline untouched for the score.

Clemson came back with 10 unanswered points. Greg Heuguel connected on a 37-yard field goal to bring the Tigers within four points. Minutes later, Wayne Gallman capped off a nine-play, 60 yard drive when he dove into the end zone for the go-ahead score.

Alabama tied the game on a field goal to open the fourth quarter, and then stunned Clemson when they successfully attempted an onside kick. Two plays later, Coker found Howard again on a blown coverage by Clemson for an easy 51-yard TD pass.

Alabama Wins O.J. Howard #88 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates with his teammate Kenyan Drake #17 after scoring a 51 yard touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Clemson Tigers during the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Clemson would respond with a field goal on the very next drive, but had their hearts broken on the ensuing kickoff as Kenyan Drake returned it 95 yards for the touchdown, giving Alabama a commanding 11-point lead with just over seven minutes left in the game.

But the Tigers would not go quietly into the Desert night. Watson led Clemson on an eight-play, 75-yard TD drive, completed by Artavis Scott for the score. The Tigers attempted a two-point conversion, but Watson was unable to get into the end zone.

Trailing by only five points, the Tigers needed to force Alabama to punt or hold them to a field goal on their next possession. Unfortunately, the Crimson Tied crushed the hopes and dreams of the Clemson fans when Coker connected with Howard on a 63-yard screen pass, and Henry punched it in for the game-clinching touchdown.

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Michael Duarte

Michael J. Duarte is a Los Angeles based writer. Born and raised in the City of Angels, Michael did his undergraduate work at the University of California Santa Barbara and a graduate program at the University of Southern California. Michael was awarded the Paul Lazarus Screenwriting Scholarship Award in 2004 and the Corwin Writing Award for his feature screenplay, "Chasing 4:00" in 2005. In addition to Sports writing, Michael is an avid marathon runner and fan of the Magic Bullet blender.