Alabama dominates Cincinnati in Cotton Bowl; will play in National Championship vs. Georgia

12/31/21 MFB Alabama vs Cincinnati 
CFP Semi-Final

Team
Photo by UA/CrimsonTidePhotos
12/31/21 MFB Alabama vs Cincinnati CFP Semi-Final Team Photo by UA/CrimsonTidePhotos(UA/CrimsonTidePhotos | Crimson Tide Photos / UA Athletics)
Published: Dec. 31, 2021 at 6:00 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 31, 2021 at 9:58 PM CST
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DALLAS, TX. (WBRC) - The Alabama Crimson Tide’s swarming defense and bruising running game helped them secure a berth in the National Championship game.

In their second straight College Football Playoff, the top ranked Tide defeated the fourth ranked Cincinnati Bearcats in the Cotton Bowl, 27 to 6.

Alabama started the game on offense first, driving the ball down the field with ten running plays to put the ball in Cincinnati territory. The drive would end with Bryce Young finding wide receiver Slade Bolden for an eight yard touchdown, the only passing play of the drive. The touchdown would give Bryce Young an Alabama school record for passing touchdowns in a season with 44, passing former Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa. It would also give the Tide a 7-0 lead to start the game.

On Cincinnati’s first drive, the Bearcats would drive deep into Alabama’s territory, getting down to the Crimson Tide’s nine yard line. Alabama’s defense would hold strong, getting a six yard loss on third down, holding Cincinnati to a field goal. The first quarter would end with Alabama holding a 7-3 lead.

The Crimson Tide would have another promising drive yet again, driving down to the Cincinnati eight yard line. But the Bearcats defense would keep Alabama out of the end zone, forcing the Tide to settle for a field goal, making the score 10-3.

After punts on the next three drives, the Crimson Tide would find it’s way back into Cincinnati territory, but the drive would be a win for the Bearcats’ defense after Alabama missed the field goal, keeping the score at 10-3. Alabama’s defense would make a stand on the next drive, forcing Cincinnati’s defense to punt once again.

Alabama’s offense would get the ball back on their own six yard line, driving 94 yards down the field, with Bryce Young finding Ja’Corey Brooks for a 44 yard touchdown. The Crimson Tide would go into the half with a 17-3 lead over the Bearcats.

Cincinnati would get the ball first after halftime, gaining some momentum by driving all the way to Alabama’s 19 yard line. The Bearcats would not be able to get into the end zone, settling for another field goal, cutting Alabama’s lead to 17-6.

After punts from both teams, Cincinnati would get the first turnover of the game, when Bryce Young threw an interception to Bryan Cook, giving the Bearcats the ball on their own 49 yard line. Alabama’s defense would force the Bearcats to punt, after Will Anderson and Christian Harris sacked quarterback Desmond Ridder for 10 yards.

The Tide offense would start to find their rhythm going into the fourth quarter, and Bryce Young would throw his third touchdown of the day to tight end Cameron Latu, extending Alabama’s lead to 24-6. Young would set another Alabama record on the throw, passing Mac Jones for the most passing yards in a single season in Alabama history.

Cincinnati would drive down the field on their next drive, getting back into Alabama territory, but Will Anderson and Brian Branch would sack Ridder on fourth down, giving the Tide the ball back with an 18 point lead.

Alabama would find their way back in Cincinnati territory on the next, ending with a field goal to extend the lead to 27-6. The next Bearcats drive would end with a turnover on downs, sealing the victory for the Tide.

Running back Brian Robinson was named the game’s Offensive MVP after rushing for 204 yards, a school record for most rushing yards in a bowl game. Linebacker Will Anderson was named Defensive MVP after finishing the game with six total tackles and two sacks.

Alabama advances to play in the National Championship in Indianapolis on January 10th. They will face the Georgia Bulldogs in a rematch of the 2021 SEC Championship.

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