It would be impossible to script a better game than what took place Monday night in Glendale, Ariz. — No. 1 vs. No. 2, big-plays galore and a fourth quarter for the ages. This was as good of a football game as we’ve seen all season.
Looking to avenge last year’s abrupt loss to Ohio State in the inaugural College Football Playoff, Alabama worked its way back to the top with a thrilling 45-40 win against Clemson on Monday night in the title game. Nick Saban has now joined Bear Bryant as the only two college football coaches with at least five national championships, and the Crimson Tide have now claimed their 16th championship.
It’s a good day to be an Alabama fan. Enjoy this one.
Here are 13 things to know:
- Nick Saban smiled! See what the coach told ESPN seconds after his team captured its fourth national title since 2009.
- Kenyan Drake: wheels. The senior running back returned a Clemson kickoff for a 95-yard touchdown that put Alabama ahead in the fourth quarter. It’s a must-see play and was probably the coolest moment of the night.
- Saban reached genius level when called for an unexpected onside kick midway through the fourth quarter. It worked perfectly.
- In what might be the least surprising news of the evening, Heisman trophy-winning running back Derrick Henry set another record.
- He also became the school’s all-time rushing leader and is tied for the most rushing touchdowns in school history. All in a day’s work.
- Henry got the scoring early as he sprinted 50 yards for the game’s first touchdown.
- As he has multiple times this season, Henry honored former teammate Altee Tenpenny who died earlier in the season in a car accident.
- Is it really a touchdown if Lane Kiffin isn’t on the sidelines prematurely celebrating? See for yourself.
- Monday night was a dream turned into reality for ‘Bama quarterback Jake Coker.
- Some of the nation’s top recruits took to Twitter to react to Alabama’s win.
- Speaking of recruits, perhaps one who decommitted from Alabama is now interested in recommitting.
- Check out how the national media reacted.
- Last but not least, Saban and Dabo Swinney made a bet before the game. It looks like Swinney owes Saban dinner.
Other Alabama news from around the Internet
- You probably didn’t miss the game because ‘Bama fans typically don’t. But in the rare event that you didn’t see it, AL.com’s Matt Zenitz kept a live blog throughout the whole thing.
- Check out AL.com’s Michael Casagrande’s immediate game story, filled with quick analysis and big moments.
- See how former and current Auburn players reacted to their rivals taking home the trophy, from AL.com’s Wesley Sinor.
- Take a look at Saban’s stats over the years and how he compares to college football’s best coaches, from ESPN.com.
- USA Today’s Nicole Auerbach talked to a few Alabama fans who would actually welcome Dabo Swinney as Saban’s replacement one day.
- More on Saban, his happiness and his legacy from the New York Times’ William C. Rhoden.