THE LATEST: Bama has 1st possession; Lawson, Alexander start
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) The latest developments from the College Football Playoff national championship game between Clemson and Alabama (all times local):
And we're underway in the national title game.
Clemson won the coin toss, and elected to defer to the second half with Alabama receiving to open the game.
With the crowd roaring, Kenyan Drake took the kick at his goal line and returned it 21 yards.
For Clemson, defensive end Shaq Lawson and cornerback Mackensie Alexander both started.
The College Football Playoff national championship game between No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabama marks the 50th matchup of the top two teams in The Associated Press poll.
Alabama is taking part in its 10th 1 vs. 2 game - and is ranked No. 2 going in for the eighth time. The Crimson Tide are 5-2 in such games with four of the wins giving them national titles. Their record as the No. 1 team against a No. 2 is 1-1, the win giving them another national crown.
Clemson, meanwhile, is in its first 1 vs. 2 game.
Alabama will tie Notre Dame for most times playing in a 1 vs. 2 game.
The AP poll began in 1936.
Trying to get a last-minute ticket to the national title game?
Hurry up! And you may not have to shell out much cash, either.
Tickets can be found for as low as $80 on StubHub.com. Upper-level seats on the Clemson and Alabama sidelines are going for around $100.
Airfare was exceptionally high for travel from the two campuses. Some fans reported driving to other cities or making multiple stops to get to the game. That may have had an effect on ticket prices.
As Alabama players ran onto the field for warmups, they were greeted by boos by the large contingent of Clemson fans - a very large contingent that is quickly filling up University of Phoenix Stadium.
While the Crimson Tide are used to such welcomes on the road, it seems clear this will be a Clemson crowd when the Tigers go against `Bama for the national title.
A few minutes later, the Clemson defense and the rest of the players joined the offense on the field to the cheer ''C-L-E-M-S-O-N!''
There was some good news for Clemson on the injury front. All-American defensive end Shaq Lawson lined up for early stretching, shaking hands with assistants. His sprained left knee was taped.
Cornerback Mackensie Alexander also was in uniform high-stepping and going through full warmups. He has a hamstring injury and his status is a game time decision.
There's still more than an hour before kickoff, but Clemson already has problems with its defense. As in injuries.
Top cover man Mackensie Alexander will be a game time decision and All-American defensive end Shaq Lawson was limping at media day. Alexander has a hamstring issue and Lawson, a sprained left knee.
The loss of either could be a huge blow to Clemson's national title hopes when it takes on Alabama at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Alexander, among the top cornerbacks in the nation, would be matched against Alabama's star receiver Calvin Ridley.
Lawson is a standout pass rusher with 10 1/2 sacks, and is being counted on to help deal with Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry.
Both players were injured in Clemson's Orange Bowl win over Oklahoma.
The retractable roof at University of Phoenix Stadium will remain closed for Monday night's national championship game between Alabama and Clemson.
This is not a huge surprise, but the weather outside the stadium is sunny with temperatures in the 60s - at least 90 minutes or so before the opening kickoff.
A College Football Playoff spokesman said consistency is the reason the roof is closed. It's still winter in the desert, and weather conditions could change as the game progresses. Over the past few days, it's been chilly and rainy.
The roof is rarely open for Arizona Cardinals games, but was open for last year's Super Bowl when New England beat Seattle.
Outside the stadium, the parking lots were filling up with a Clemson orange tinge more prominent than Alabama crimson.
Inside, with the crowd beginning to file in, it's looking like way more orange than crimson.
AP College Football website: collegefootball.ap.org