The win allows Alabama to claim its 16th national title, and gives head coach Nick Saban his fourth championship in seven seasons. Saban also captured a BCS title while with LSU.
Alabama sealed the win with a touchdown by Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry late in the fourth quarter to put the Tide up by 11. Clemson scored a touchdown with just seconds remaining in the game, but the Tigers were unable to recover an onside kick.
Henry finished the game with 158 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries.
For Clemson, quarterback Deshaun Watson finished the game 30-of-47 passing for 405 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.
• Watch: Alabama surprises with onside kick, then scores
With the title, the Crimson Tide became just the third school since 1936 to capture four national championships in 10 seasons.
The Tide and Tigers both completed the season with 14–1 records.