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No. 1 Alabama handles No. 4 Cincinnati, advances to championship game

Sportsnaut
Dec 31, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner (15) reacts during the first half against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the 2021 Cotton Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 31, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner (15) reacts during the first half against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the 2021 Cotton Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama will play for a second straight national title after the top-ranked Crimson Tide defeated No. 4 Cincinnati 27-6 in a College Football Playoff semifinal in Arlington, Texas, on Friday.

Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young threw for 181 yards and three touchdowns and Brian Robinson Jr., ran for an Alabama (13-1) bowl record and career high 204 yards on 26 carries.

Cincinnati (13-1), the first non-Power 5 school to play in the CFP, kept it close until Young found Ja’Core Brooks for a 44-yard TD with 1:36 left in the first half to make it 17-3.

Bearcats QB Desmond Ridder was 17 for 32 for 144 yards as Cincinnati had 218 total yards. Alabama had 482, 301 on the ground.

The Crimson Tide will face the Georgia-Michigan winner from later Friday in the championship game on Jan. 10 in Indianapolis.

Alabama downed Ohio State in 2021 and earned titles in 2016 and 2018 while losing in the 2017 and 2019 finals since the first CFP in 2015.

Cincinnati pulled to within 17-6 early in the third quarter on a 37-yard field goal by Cole Smith but the Crimson Tide extended the lead to 24-6 with 13:52 left in the game on Cameron Latu’s 9-yard reception.

Young (17 for 28) has 46 TD passes to smash the school season record of 43 by Tua Tagovailoa in 2018.

Will Reichard added a 43-yard field goal with 6:20 left for the final margin.

The Crimson Tide asserted themselves on the game’s opening drive, going 75 yards in 11 plays for a 7-0 lead on an 8-yard pass from Young to Slade Bolden. Robinson had six carries for 37 yards in the series and receiver Jameson Williams had an 18-yard run.

Cincinnati’s first possession resulted in a 33-yard field goal by Smith to make it 7-3. Reichard made it a seven-point lead with a 26-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter

–Field Level Media