Tigers stem Tide in championship rout

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Clemson is the national champion in college football for the second time in three years after handing Alabama its most lopsided loss under head coach Nick Saban.

Trevor Lawrence passed for 347 yards and three touchdowns as the Tigers blasted the Crimson Tide, 44-16 in the College Football Playoff national championship game at Santa Clara, California. Lawrence threw TD passes to Travis Etienne, Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross to help undefeated Clemson become the first team in the AP poll era starting in 1936 to win 15 games in a season.

Etienne had three first-half TDs for Clemson, which actually trailed 16-14 in the second quarter before forging a 31-16 advantage by halftime. He finished with 86 yards on 14 carries.

A.J. Terrell brought back an interception 44 yards for a touchdown on Alabama's opening drive. Heisman Trophy runner-up Tua Tagovailoa threw a second interception and was 22 of 34 for 295 yards with two first-quarter TDs, along with minus-9 yards rushing.

Clemson is the first opponent to beat the Tide by more than 14 points since Saban became coach in 2007.

Alabama was seeking its sixth national championship in the last 10 seasons.