College football playoff: Alabama vs. Clemson TV schedule and game preview for national championship
Here's everything you need to know about Alabama and Clemson in the college football championship game.
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Monday, Jan. 11: College Football Playoff Championship
Clemson vs. Alabama, 8:30 p.m., Eastern, ESPN. See the livestream on WatchESPN.
Preview: Alabama has been the class of college football since head coach Nick Saban took over 2007, and the Crimson Tide are back in the national championship game for the fourth time in his tenure. Upstart Clemson is undefeated under charismatic coach Dabo Swinney and will look to upset the mighty Crimson Tide for the program's second national title and first College Football Playoff championship.
Players to watch: Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry leads Alabama’s rugged offense. The junior has 2,061 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns this season, and has eclipsed the 100-yard mark nine times. Michigan State, however, stymied the 242-pound bruiser and held him to 75 rushing yards – his second-fewest in a game this season -- in the national semifinal. Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson finished third in Heisman Trophy voting after an excellent regular season and showcased his supreme talent yet again against Oklahoma in the national semifinal. Watson, who has 3,699 passing yards and 31 touchdowns, passed for 187 yards and a score and carved up Oklahoma’s defense for 145 rushing yards and a touchdown. The sophomore has five 100-yard rushing games in his last six outings.
Key stats: Alabama has 15 national championships, including three under Saban, who guided the program to national titles in 2009, 2010 and 2012. Alabama, under Saban, is known for its prolific defense, and that’s the case once again in 2015, as the Crimson Tide rank third nationally in scoring defense (14.4 points per game). Florida State transfer Jake Coker has thrived in a game-manager role for the Crimson Tide, completing 67.1 percent of his passes for 2,775 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions; Coker has not thrown for 300 yards in a game this season. Alabama freshman wide receiver Calvin Ridley has emerged as a big-play threat with back-to-back 100-yard games and has a team-high 1,031 receiving yards this season.
RELATED: Complete college football statistics
Clemson is vying for its second national championship and first since 1981. The Tigers have completed five undefeated seasons and three perfect seasons, including the 1981 national championship campaign. Clemson running back Wayne Gallman teams with Watson to form one of the most explosive rushing attacks in college football; Gallman, a sophomore, has 1,482 rushing yards and has rattled off at least 100 yards in six of his last seven games, including 150 against Oklahoma. Artavis Scott is the latest standout in a long line of talented Clemson receivers; the sophomore speedster leads the team with 89 receptions for 868 yards.