No. 1 Alabama vs No. 4 Cincinnati: 2021 CFP Semifinal preview, TV schedule

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati running back Jerome Ford (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

Alabama Offense

Headlining the Crimson Tide offense is 2021 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Bryce Young who has thrown for 4,322 yards and 43 touchdowns on the year, both of which rank Top 5 in the country. Joining Young in the backfield are running backs Brian Robinson Jr and Trey Sanders, while the wide receivers are headlined by Jameson Williams and Slade Bolden, as well as others such as Ja’Corey Brooks, Traeshon Holden, JoJo Earle, and more who will help replace the injured John Metchie III. Tight end’s Jahleel Billingsley and Cameron Latu also play key roles in the passing game, while the offensive line should feature Neal, Cohen, McLaughlin, Ekiyor, and Owens once again.

Alabama Defense

Leading the Alabama defense is star pass rusher Will Anderson Jr (15.5 sacks in 2021), with other team leaders in sacks such as Phidarian Mathis, Dallas Turner, and Byron Young headlining a talented Crimson Tide defensive line. Leading tackler Henry To’o To’o and Christian Harris feature as one of the best inside linebacker duos in the country, while Jordan Battle and DeMarcco Hellams feature at safety. With starting corner Josh Jobe out with an injury, a combination of Kool-Aid McKinstry, Jalyn Armour-Davis, and Khyree Jackson will feature at cornerback, with Brian Branch, Daniel Wright, and Malachi Moore also seeing time in the secondary.

Alabama Special Teams

Kicker Will Reichard has made 16-of-20 field goals on the season, while freshman James Burnip has averaged 39.1 yards per punt so far this season.

Cincinnati Offense

Leading the Cincinnati offense is senior quarterback Desmond Ridder who has accounted for 36 total touchdowns on the year, as well as star running back Jerome Ford who has rushed for 1,242 yards and 19 touchdowns this season. In addition to Ford, the Bearcats backfield also features juniors Ryan Montgomery and Charles McClelland, while leading receiver Alec Pierce, Tyler Scott, Tre Tucker, and Michael Young Jr headline the passing game. Tight end’s Josh Whyle and Leonard Taylor are two of Ridder’s top red zone targets, while the offensive line features starters John Williams, Jeremy Cooper, Jake Renfro, Vincent McConnell, and Dylan O’Quinn.

Cincinnati Defense

The arguable strength of the Cincinnati defense comes in the secondary with Ahmad Gardner, Coby Bryant, and Arquon Bush featuring at cornerback, each of whom have collected three interceptions each on the year, with Bryan Cook and Ja’von Hicks at safety. Leading tackler Joel Dublanko headlines a deep linebacker unit that also features Darrian Beavers, Deshawn Pace, and Ty Van Fossen. Senior defensive lineman Curtis Brooks leads the Bearcats with 7.5 sacks on the season, while Jowon Briggs, Myjai Sanders, Malik Vann, and Jabari Taylor are all prominent pass rushers along the defensive line.

Cincinnati Special Teams

The Bearcats have used three different kickers throughout the 2021 season in Cole Smith, Alex Bales, and Christian Lowery, while freshman Mason Fletcher is averaging 42.7 yards per punt for the year.