The 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Cotton Bowl between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Cincinnati was a historic matchup far before the first snap as the defending champions met the first Group of Five team to make the CFP.
Although the Crimson Tide were a 13.5-point favorite, the third-largest spread in a CFP game, some players still entered the semifinal showdown with something to prove.
“I still feel like we’re the underdog in this game,” Bama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. said. “All year we have been disrespected.”
Powered by a dominant defense that sacked Desmond Ridder six times and a dynamic rushing attack that totaled over 300 yards, the Crimson Tide looked more like Goliath than David in its 27-6 win over the Bearcats.
Brian Robinson Jr.’s 204 rushing yards only trails Ezekiel Elliott’s totals of 230 (2015 Sugar Bowl) and 246 (2015 National Championship) in a CFP game.
Still, some spectators, namely Cincinnati alum Travis Kelce, were not impressed by the Tide’s performance.
Nick Saban heads to his 10th appearance in a BCS/CFP National Championship Game, the most since the BCS began in 1998 (more than double any other head coach) and some of his former players, from Marlon Humphrey to Jaylen Waddle couldn’t help but to celebrate the win on social media.
ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this story.
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