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College Football
Preview
Alabama vs Clemson
When: 8:30 PM ET, Monday, January 11, 2016
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona



COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME STORYLINES

1. Second-ranked Alabama is looking for its fourth national title in the past seven seasons when it faces top-ranked Clemson in the College Football Playoff national championship game at Glendale, Ariz. on Monday. The Crimson Tide reached the title game with a resounding 38-0 victory over Michigan State in the semifinals for their 11th straight victory. The Tigers have won 17 consecutive games dating back to last season and throttled Oklahoma in the second half of their semifinal en route to a 37-17 victory.

2. Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry of Alabama has rushed for an SEC-record 2,061 yards to go with a conference-tying 25 rushing touchdowns while cementing himself as one of the top running backs in school and SEC history. Clemson sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting and his multidimensional skills - 3,699 passing yards and 31 touchdowns, 1,032 rushing yards and 12 scores - concern Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban. "Really is probably as fine a dual-threat quarterback as we've played against for a long, long time and certainly does an outstanding job of executing their offense, and there's no question about the fact that he's an outstanding leader as well, because you can see the way the players sort of rally around him," Saban told reporters.

3. The status of Clemson junior defensive end Shaq Lawson remains unclear after he suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee during the semifinal victory over Oklahoma. Tigers coach Dabo Swinney has stated that he is hopeful that Lawson (team-best 23.5 tackles for losses, including 10.5 sacks) would be able to play, but the NFL-bound Lawson didn't sound as sure when he met with reporters Tuesday. "I probably wouldn't be able to say I can play right now," Lawson said. "I've just got to get comfortable with it. I'm not comfortable with it right now."

TV:
8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Alabama -6.5

ABOUT ALABAMA (13-1, 7-1 SEC): Henry topped 100 yards nine times - and 200 on four occasions - and senior Kenyan Drake (407 yards) is back from a broken arm to provide a nice duo to help take pressure off senior quarterback Jake Coker (2,775 yards, 19 touchdowns). Freshman receiver Calvin Ridley pumped life into the passing game with 83 receptions with 1,031 yards and defensive stalwarts such as junior strong safety Eddie Jackson (team-high five interceptions, two returned for touchdowns), senior middle linebacker Reggie Ragland (team-best 97 tackles) and junior defensive Jonathan Allen (team-high 12 sacks) were among the players that pushed for a higher standard when the Crimson Tide were staggering in September. "I think the early loss to Ole Miss probably did a lot to jilt the attitude of this team in helping them do the things they needed to do, to be what they could be and follow and do the things that were necessary for them to be a good football team," Saban said.

ABOUT CLEMSON (14-0, 8-0 ACC): Swinney grew up in Alabama and played and coached for the Crimson Tide before finding his way to Clemson and finds humor in the irony that he must beat his beloved alma mater to win his first national crown as a head coach. "You go on with your life, and I've been at Clemson 13 years, and I've been trying to get back to the National Championship as a coach for 20-plus years now," Swinney said on a teleconference call. "You know, to have the opportunity to be in my first national championship game as a coach, and it comes against Alabama, I just have to smile at God on that one." Sophomore running back Wayne Gallman set a school-rushing mark with 1,482 yards to go with 12 touchdowns while the Lawson-led defense also features standouts in senior middle linebacker B.J. Goodson (team-best 98 tackles), junior cornerback Cordrea Tankersley (team-leading five interceptions) and junior defensive end Kevin Dodd (nine sacks).



PREDICTION: Clemson 30, Alabama 27
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Alabama 13-1 W11 34.4 13.4 9-1 4-0 10-1 0-0 8-1
Clemson 14-0 W14 38.4 20.0 9-0 5-0 12-0 0-0 9-0
Last Meeting
Alabama Clemson
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
8/30/08 ALA 34 CLEM 10 419 239 180 188 0 188
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Alabama J. Wilson 73.3 180 2 0
Clemson C. Harper 58.8 188 0 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Alabama M. Ingram 17 96 5.6 0
Clemson J. Davis 6 13 2.2 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Alabama N. Walker 7 67 9.6 1
Clemson J. Ford 2 53 26.5 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Alabama J. Jones 1
Clemson E. Adams 0
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Alabama J. Coker 67.1 2775 19 8
Clemson D. Watson 68.2 3704 31 12
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Alabama D. Henry 359 2061 5.7 25
Clemson W. Gallman 268 1469 5.5 12
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Alabama C. Ridley 83 1031 12.4 7
Clemson A. Scott 89 868 9.8 5
Touchdowns Player TD
Alabama D. Henry 25
Clemson W. Gallman 13
Quickchart Matchup
Alabama Alabama Off vs  Clemson Clemson Def
Alabama 423.8 yards
Clemson 302 yards
Alabama 4.8 yards/rush
Clemson 3.6 yards/rush
Alabama 7.3 yards/attempt
Clemson 6 yards/attempt
Clemson Clemson Off vs  Alabama Alabama Def
Clemson 512 yards
Alabama 256.7 yards
Clemson 5 yards/rush
Alabama 2.3 yards/rush
Clemson 8.3 yards/attempt
Alabama 5.8 yards/attempt