GLENDALE, AZ (WMBF) - The Alabama Crimson Tide are kings of college football once again after beating Alabama 45-40 in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday night at University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona. The Tigers finish their historic year with a 14-1 record and ranking of second in the final AP Top 25 Poll. Alabama also finishes 14-1, and captured its fourth college football title in the last seven seasons, matching only Notre Dame, which accomplished a similar feat in the 1940s.
To start the night, Alabama's Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry scored a 50-yard touchdown to put the Tide ahead 7-0.
It didn't take long for Clemson to come back in the first quarter. Quarterback Deshaun Watson hit Socastee High School alum and Tiger walk-on Hunter Renfrow for a 31-yard score to even things up. Renfrow scored another touchdown at the end of the first to give Clemson a brief lead. The former Brave caught a team-high seven passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns.
However, the turning point for both teams came in the fourth quarter. After Alabama tied the game at 24, the Tigers were caught off guard with an Alabama onside kick. Once the Tide recovered, O.J. Howard scored on a 51 yard pass two plays later.
After Clemson responded with a field goal, Alabama's special teams struck again, as Kenyan Drake took the ensuing kickoff 95 yards to the endzone to give Nick Saban's team a 38-27 edge. After an Artavis Scott touchdown drew the Tigers closer, Henry responded with a one yard touchdown run to extend the lead once more.
Watson found Jordan Leggett in the final minute of play for his fourth touchdown pass of the night, but Alabama sealed things up after recovering the onside kick that came after to wrap things up with a 45-40 win.
Henry finished with 36 rushes for 158 yards and three touchdowns, while Howard earned Offensive MVP honors by hauling in five passes for 208 yards and two scores.
Watson's night finished with 30-47 passing, good for 405 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for 73 yards.
One other local product stood out for the Tigers - Lamar Silver Fox alum B.J. Goodson, in his final career game had ten tackles.
Renfrow earned large attention quickly for his early efforts on Monday. Horry County Schools posted on their Facebook, "Congrats to '14 Socastee High grad, Hunter Renfrow for helping the Tigers make it to the College National Football championship tonight! We know there are a few Tiger fans out there (and a few who aren't), but tonight we're rootin' for Renfrow! (Photo credit Tigers Football)
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