Top-Ranked Alabama makes final preparations for National Championship

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The top-ranked Alabama football team continued practice indoors, working two hours in full pads at the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility.

Thursday was the third of five practices before Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship in Tampa, Fla. Alabama will square off with Clemson at Raymond James Stadium for a 7:17 p.m. CT matchup on ESPN. The four-person crew of Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Samantha Ponder and Tom Rinaldi will cover all the action in the championship meeting. The showdown with the Tigers will be the fifth time in the last eight seasons the Crimson Tide will play in the final game of the college football season to determine the national champion.

Alabama will travel to Florida on Friday morning and will practice in the afternoon. Saturday morning will feature an hour-long media day for the team, followed by practice in the evening. Sunday’s schedule features a press conference in the morning for both head coaches followed by a team picture and then walkthrough to close out the work week.

The nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 teams will meet for the 17th time in the history of the two programs, with the Crimson Tide owning a 13-3 all-time advantage in the series. While the Tigers won the initial three meetings, the Tide have won the last 13 contests, outscoring Clemson 435-94 over that span. The most recent meeting between the two teams occurred in last season’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game when Alabama rallied for a 45-40 win to capture the program’s 16th national championship. Tight end O.J. Howard earned offensive MVP honors in the victory after catching five passes for a career-high 208 yards and two touchdowns.

Earlier in the day, Jonathan Allen was named National Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year by Pro Football Focus. The senior defensive lineman has been the heartbeat of a defense that ranks first nationally in total defense (244 ypg), rush defense (62 ypg) and scoring defense (11.4 ppg). On the season, Allen has notched 62 stops, including 9.5 sacks (-77 yards) and 15 tackles for loss (-89 yards), 15 quarterback hurries and two pass breakups. He also has three fumble returns for 115 yards and two touchdowns.

COURTESY ALABAMA SPORTS INFORMATION

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