This one was a thriller. On Monday night, Jan. 11, 2016 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona the 13-1 Alabama Crimson Tide beat the 14-0 Clemson Tigers by a final score of 45-40 to claim the NCAA College Football Championship. This game definitely lived up to its billing, and provided a perfect escape for all those mourning the death of Rock Star David Bowie.

In the first half, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson did as much as one player could possibly do.

He not only threw for 162 yards and two touchdowns, but also ran the ball nine times for 45 yards. The rest of the Clemson team collectively had nine carries for just 12 yards. Obviously, the prime directive for the Tide would be to at least slow down the dynamic sophomore signal-caller in order to give themselves a chance to seize the momentum; it would not be easy. The game was tied 14-14 at halftime, and the second half provided more drama than one could hope.

Early in the third quarter, Alabama scored first. Quarterback Jake Coker hit tight end O.J. Howard for a 53-yard touchdown to give the Tide a 21-14 lead. Clemson tried to answer back, but an excellent defensive play in the end zone denied the Tigers a touchdown and forced them to settle for a 37-yard field goal which cut the lead to 21-17.

As the game wore on, the Alabama offense was having trouble moving the ball and Clemson were beginning to take control.

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The Tigers finally took a 24-21 lead on a one-yard touchdown run by Wayne Gallman with less than five minutes remaining in the quarter. This was the perfect prelude to a fantastic fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, a 33-yard Alabama field goal tied the score 24-24 with10:34 remaining in regulation time. This was when Alabama head coach Nick Saban, sensing that the psyche of his team had become a bit fragile, made a gutsy call which changed the momentum for good.

After the field goal, Alabama were able to catch Clemson by surprise, with a perfectly executed onside kick, and thus went back on offense. Two plays later the Tide were in the end zone again, courtesy of another touchdown pass from Coker to Howard, this time for 51 yards to give Alabama a 31-24 lead.

Trailing 31-24, Clemson kicked a 31-yard field goal to cut the lead to 31-27, but then came the final dagger.

On the ensuing kickoff, Kenyan Drake returned the ball 95 yards for another Tide touchdown which pushed the lead to 38-27. From there, it was all over but the shouting. A late Clemson touchdown made the game look much closer than it really was. The fourth quarter, and the championship belonged to Alabama.

For the Alabama team and its splendid head coach Nick Saban, this was the fourth National championship in the last seven seasons, and 16th overall in its storied history.

For Saban, this was his fifth overall championship as a head coach (LSU 2003). Saban is definitely the best college football coach of his era, and quite possibly of all time. Perhaps Alabama quarterback Jake Coker said it best during postgame. When asked makes Saban so great, Coker responded, " He's a special coach, special person, and does everything the right way."

Final Stats: Total offensive yards: CLE 550, ALA 473.

Total net rushing yards: CLE 145, ALA 138. First down efficiency: ALA 9/18, CLE 6/14. Turnovers: ALA 0, CLE 1.

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