Howard was the main star of the night for the Tide as he caught five passes for a championship game-record 208 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Coker, the senior from Mobile, also came up huge in joining Greg McElroy and A.J. McCarron as those who have quarterbacked the Tide to national titles under Saban, completing 16 of 25 passes for a career-high 335 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Alabama, coming off a 38-0 win over Michigan State in the Dec. 31 CFP semifinals, struck first midway through the first quarter as Henry finished off a 3-play, 59-yard drive with a 50-yard ramble for a score. Henry accounted for all 59 yards on that series.
At the 5:18 mark of the quarter, however, Clemson tied things up when Watson connected with Hunter Renfrow on a 31-yard scoring pass, capping a 6-play, 54-yard march.
Later in the period, the Tigers put together a 73-yard drive, and that drive ended with no time left on the clock as Watson hooked up with Renfrow again, this time on an 11-yard TD pass that put Clemson ahead 14-7.
In the second quarter, the Crimson Tide went to work at the Tiger 42-yard-line following an Eddie Jackson interception of a Watson pass.
Henry finished that drive off at the 9:35 mark of the quarter with a 1-yard run and the game was tied 14-14 at halftime.
The Crimson Tide regained the lead early in the third quarter, capping a 3-play, 64-yard drive as Coker hit Howard on a 53-yard touchdown bomb. The Tide now led 21-14 in this back-and-forth thriller.
A little under three minutes later, the Tigers cut the Alabama lead to 21-17 as Greg Huegel was true on a 37-yard field goal.
Clemson completed the scoring in the third quarter by regaining the lead, as a 1-yard scoring run by Wayne Gallman capped a 9-play, 60-yard march, putting the Tigers back up 24-21.
At the 10:34 mark of the final period, the Crimson Tide tied the score again as Griffith was good on a 33-yard field goal to complete a 64-yard drive.
The Crimson Tide then pulled off a bit of unexpected trickery as Griffith executed a perfect onside kick attempt, which Tide freshman Marlon Humphrey recovered at midfield.
Two plays later, Alabama capitalized on the special teams heroics as Coker again hit Howard on a big scoring aerial, this one for 51 yards to suddenly put the Crimson Tide up 31-24, with the Tide totally in control of the game momentum at this point. Howard's yardage total on the night is a Crimson Tide record for a tight end.
Huegel hit a 31-yard field goal on Clemson's next possession to cut the Tide lead to 31-27, but Drake took the ensuing kickoff and took it the distance for a 95-yard TD and Alabama had a seemingly-comfortable 38-27 advantage, but with still 7:31 remaining in this instant classic.
Watson and company refused to fold, however, and on the next Clemson series, the Tigers marched 75 yards, and the drive was capped when Watson hit Artavis Scott on a 15-yard scoring pass with 4:40 remaining. A two-point conversion failed, but the Tide lead now was only 38-33.
Alabama effectively sealed the deal, however, on its ensuing series, setting up shop at the Tide 25, and driving 75 yards for the game-clinching touchdown. Henry capped the series with a 1-yard dive, his third score of the night, with just over a minute left to make the lead 45-33. Henry broke season and career school record for rushing yards and rushing touchdowns during the game.
With only 12 seconds left, Watson hit Jordan Leggett on a 24-yard scoring pass to make the score 45-40, but its onside kick attempt went out of bounds and Alabama was able to run out the clock and then break into a wild celebration that preceded the championship trophy presentation.
For Alabama, which tallied 473 offensive yards in the contest, ArDaris Stewart caught two passes for 63 yards while Drake had two receptions for 21 yards.
Griffith hit 1 of 2 field goals while having the big onside kick while punter JK Scott had seven kicks for an average of 42.4 yards and a long kick of 52 yards.
Matias-Smith led Alabama defensively with 11 tackles, while Foster had nine and Cyrus Jones, Reggie Ragland and Humphrey with five each. Rashaan Evans had three tackles, two sacks and two tackles for loss. Jackson contributed the huge interception..
The Alabama win spoiled a prolific performance by Clemson quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist Deshaun Watson, who completed 30 of 47 passes for 405 yards and four touchdowns while also carrying the ball 20 times for another 73 yards.
He led a Tiger offense which tallied 550 yards
Special thanks: Alabama Athletics Communications
Courtesy of Crimson Magazine