Fearless Rick's 2016 College Football Picks - National Championship game recap

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NCAA Football National Championship Recap

All times Eastern

Monday, January 9

Clemson 35 Alabama 31

Clemson scored a touchdown with one second left to defeat Alabama in the national championship game Monday night, claiming the Tigers' first national crown since 1981 with a thrilling, 35-31, victory over the Crimson Tide.

With the lead changing hands four times in the fourth quarter, the game seemed destined to go down to the wire, and it did, as Clemson took over after Alabama's quarterback, Jalen Hurts rambled 30 yards through the middle of the Tiger defense for a touchdown with 2:07 to play, putting the Crimson Tide on top, 31-28.

Led by junior quarterback, Deshaun Watson, the Tigers drove 66 yards on eight plays to the Alabama two-yard line with six seconds to go, aided by outstanding catches by Mike Williams and Jordan Leggett.

On first and goal after a pass interference penalty, the ninth play of the drive concluded with an easy pass from Wilson to Hunter Renfrow for the game winner.

It was Wilson's third touchdown pass of the night and Renfrow's second catch for a score in the game. Renfrow finished with a game-high 10 catches and racked up 92 yards, one of four Tigers with over 90 yards receiving in the contest.

Leggett had seven catches for 95 yards, Williams hauled in eight balls for 94 yards and a touchdown. Unheralded Deon Cain snatched five passes for 94 yards, including a key 43 yard pass from Wilson.

Wilson finished with 420 yards on 36 of 56 passing. He also rushed for 43 yards on 21 carries, including a touchdown.

Seeking a fifth national championship under head coach Nick Saban, Alabama was denied by the team they narrowly defeated last year, 45-40.

Clemson outgained Alabama, 511 yards to 376 and possessed the ball for 34:44 to Alabama's 25:16.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinneywas exultant in victory, saying, "Eight years ago we set out to put Clemson back on top. We came up a little short last year, but today on top of the mountain, the Clemson flag is flying."

To recap, here are the coin flip and Fearless Rick predictions for the title game:

Coin Flip: Alabama

Rick's Pick: Tigers 38 Crimson Tide 34


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