Alabama’s 5 impact players in Cotton Bowl win over Cincinnati

No. 1 Alabama ended 2021 with a dominating playoff semifinal victory over No. 4 Cincinnati 27-6. The Tide controlled the contest from start to finish and the game was never really in doubt for Alabama.

Alabama suffocated the Cincinnati offense, holding the Bearcats to a mere 218 yards of total offense.

Offensively, Alabama dominated in the running game. The Tide rushed for 301 yards, averaging 6.4 yards per attempt.

Now that the dust has settled and the calendar has turned over to 2022, let’s take a look at five Alabama players who made the biggest impact on the semifinal victory.

Brian Branch

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Brian Branch played the best game of his college career against the Bearcats. Branch totaled eight tackles, 0.5 sacks, and broke up two passes in a strong effort.

Branch’s ability to both cover and play around the line of scrimmage makes it difficult on opposing offenses.

Slade Bolden

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One of the biggest question marks heading into the matchup with Cincinnati is who would step up in the absence of John Metchie. While his numbers were not off the charts, Slade Bolden caught all three of his targets and turned one into a touchdown for the Tide.

Ja'Corey Brooks

Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.

Freshman Ja’Corey Brooks is a dude. He has all the tools to be the next great Alabama wide receiver. Brooks was Alabama’s leading receiver with 66 yards on four catches, including a 44-yard touchdown reception to separate the Tide from the Bearcats right before halftime.

Will Anderson Jr.

Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.

Will Anderson Jr. simply continues to dominate opposing offenses. Anderson totaled six tackles and two sacks against the Bearcats.

In his last eight games, Anderson has 59 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, and 14.5 sacks.

Brian Robinson Jr.

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Brian Robinson Jr. may be the best feel-good story of the weekend. The fifth-year back waited his turn and answered with a strong final season. But he saved the best game of his Alabama career for the semifinal matchup with Cincinnati. Robinson rushed for 204 yards on 26 carries for an astounding 7.8 yards per attempt.

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