Breakthrough Bearcats stall in 27-6 loss to Alabama


By SCHUYLER DIXON - AP Sports Writer



Cincinnati cornerback Arquon Bush (9) tries to tackled Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. (4) during the first half of the Cotton Bowl NCAA College Football Playoff semifinal game, Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

Cincinnati cornerback Arquon Bush (9) tries to tackled Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. (4) during the first half of the Cotton Bowl NCAA College Football Playoff semifinal game, Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)


Cincinnati30306
Alabama71001027

First Quarter

ALA_Bolden 8 pass from Bry.Young (Reichard kick), 9:51.

CIN_FG C.Smith 33, 4:52.

Second Quarter

ALA_FG Reichard 26, 14:56.

ALA_J.Brooks 44 pass from Bry.Young (Reichard kick), 1:36.

Third Quarter

CIN_FG C.Smith 37, 9:57.

Fourth Quarter

ALA_Latu 9 pass from Bry.Young (Reichard kick), 13:52.

ALA_FG Reichard 43, 6:20.

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CINALA
First downs1326
Total Net Yards218482
Rushes-yards26-7447-301
Passing144181
Punt Returns1-124—8
Kickoff Returns1-401-15
Interceptions Ret.1-00-0
Comp-Att-Int17-32-017-28-1
Sacked-Yards Lost6-382-8
Punts5-45.22-44.0
Fumbles-Lost0-01-0
Penalties-Yards6-396-36
Time of Possession26:1933:41

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INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING_Cincinnati, Ford 15-77, R.Montgomery 1-3, Ridder 10-(minus 6). Alabama, B.Robinson 26-204, T.Sanders 14-67, J.Williams 1-18, Br.Young 6-12.

PASSING_Cincinnati, Ridder 17-32-0-144. Alabama, Br.Young 17-28-1-181.

RECEIVING_Cincinnati, M.Young 4-55, T.Scott 4-43, Ford 3-11, Pierce 2-17, Tucker 2-12, Whyle 1-12, L.Taylor 1-(minus 6). Alabama, J.Williams 7-62, Brooks 4-66, Bolden 3-31, Billingsley 1-12, Latu 1-9, T.Sanders 1-1.

MISSED FIELD GOALS_Alabama, Reichard 44.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Desmond Ridder didn’t want to take on the burden of representing all the non-Power Five schools in the CFP semifinal Cotton Bowl against top-ranked Alabama.

The breakthrough Bearcats held up pretty well despite Ridder’s offense going nowhere for long stretches Friday while the Alabama running game overwhelmed them in a 27-6 loss that ended an undefeated season.

Cincinnati (13-1) still had a chance when Bryan Cook intercepted Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young’s pass near midfield with Alabama leading by 11 late in the third quarter.

Ridder and the Bearcats went backward from there, and the Crimson Tide (13-1) extended the lead to 24-6 on the next possession after avoiding a three-and-out by converting on third-and-16.

The Bearcats (No. 4 in The Associated Press and CFP rankings) were held without a touchdown for the first time since a 42-0 loss to Ohio State in the second game of 2019. That also was the last time they played a top-five opponent.

The numbers didn’t favor the first non-Power Five school in the playoff coming in, and didn’t look much better afterward against a powerhouse program headed to the championship for the sixth time in the eight years of the four-team playoff format.

Cincinnati averaged 2.8 yards per play while falling behind 17-3 at halftime. Alabama had 302 yards at halftime when the Bearcats came in allowing 305 per game.

Fifth-year Alabama senior Brian Robinson Jr. had his first career 200-yard game, finishing with 204 yards as the Crimson Tide had a season-high 301 yards on the ground.

Cincinnati’s best chance to get in the end zone came on its first possession, when Alec Pierce was open at the goal line on a first-down pass from the Alabama 9 but linebacker Henry To’oTo’o knocked it down at the line of scrimmage.

The Bearcats settled for the first of two field goals — their only scoring — before three consecutive three-and-outs. The second drive to a field goal started the second half, and the next good scoring chance stalled inside the Alabama 25 when Ridder was sacked on fourth down.

With the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter, the Bearcats failed again on fourth down. Ridder’s pass was incomplete as he finished 17 of 32 for 144 yards for his first sub-100 rating of the season (90.9).

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Cincinnati cornerback Arquon Bush (9) tries to tackled Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. (4) during the first half of the Cotton Bowl NCAA College Football Playoff semifinal game, Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/12/web1_127899063-418eee2702b648b58df7ad1348e625ed.jpgCincinnati cornerback Arquon Bush (9) tries to tackled Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. (4) during the first half of the Cotton Bowl NCAA College Football Playoff semifinal game, Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

By SCHUYLER DIXON

AP Sports Writer

Cincinnati 3 0 3 0 6
Alabama 7 10 0 10 27

First Quarter

ALA_Bolden 8 pass from Bry.Young (Reichard kick), 9:51.

CIN_FG C.Smith 33, 4:52.

Second Quarter

ALA_FG Reichard 26, 14:56.

ALA_J.Brooks 44 pass from Bry.Young (Reichard kick), 1:36.

Third Quarter

CIN_FG C.Smith 37, 9:57.

Fourth Quarter

ALA_Latu 9 pass from Bry.Young (Reichard kick), 13:52.

ALA_FG Reichard 43, 6:20.

___

CIN ALA
First downs 13 26
Total Net Yards 218 482
Rushes-yards 26-74 47-301
Passing 144 181
Punt Returns 1-12 4—8
Kickoff Returns 1-40 1-15
Interceptions Ret. 1-0 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 17-32-0 17-28-1
Sacked-Yards Lost 6-38 2-8
Punts 5-45.2 2-44.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 6-39 6-36
Time of Possession 26:19 33:41

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INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING_Cincinnati, Ford 15-77, R.Montgomery 1-3, Ridder 10-(minus 6). Alabama, B.Robinson 26-204, T.Sanders 14-67, J.Williams 1-18, Br.Young 6-12.

PASSING_Cincinnati, Ridder 17-32-0-144. Alabama, Br.Young 17-28-1-181.

RECEIVING_Cincinnati, M.Young 4-55, T.Scott 4-43, Ford 3-11, Pierce 2-17, Tucker 2-12, Whyle 1-12, L.Taylor 1-(minus 6). Alabama, J.Williams 7-62, Brooks 4-66, Bolden 3-31, Billingsley 1-12, Latu 1-9, T.Sanders 1-1.

MISSED FIELD GOALS_Alabama, Reichard 44.