Bama Report Card: Grading Alabama’s Cotton Bowl win over Cincinnati

·2 min read

It’s been nearly 24 hours since No. 1 Alabama handled business in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic defeating No. 4 Cincinnati 27-6. So we are going to enjoy the next few hours of this victory before shifting our focus over to the Georgia Bulldogs.

As we reflect on Alabama’s win for just a little longer, I thought we could take a look at how each side of the ball graded out in the playoff semifinals.

Let’s get right to it!

First …the offense…

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Alabama offense did not look like a modern college offense against the Bearcats. Bryce Young threw for just 181 yards, while the team rushed for an imposing 301 yards.

Young did connect with freshman wide receiver Ja’Corey Brooks for a 44-yard touchdown right before the half, but other than that the passing game was just average. Young could never really find any consistent success against the talented defensive backfield of Cincinnati, but they did enough through the air to keep the defense honest.

Brian Robinson Jr.’s career day of 204 yards on the ground carried the Tide offense. Trey Sanders also had a good day, rushing for 67 yards on 14 carries.

Final Grade: B+

Next …the defense…

Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.

This was a vintage Alabama defensive performance if you ask me. The Bearcats averaged just 3.8 yards per play in the contest.

Sophomore Brian Branch was all over the field, making plays at all three levels of the defense.

Will Anderson Jr., Phidarian Mathis, and Dallas Turner continued to wreak havoc in the opponent’s backfield.

The Bearcats did not reach paydirt a single time in the contest.

Final Grade: A+

Next …special teams…

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Special teams were a little lackluster for the Tide on Friday.

Will Reichard missed on one field goal attempt mainly because of a poor hold. Freshman JoJo Earle muffed a punt return, but the Tide was fortunate to recover. And the kick coverage team allowed a return of 40 yards right before halftime.

It really was a below-average day for the special teams unit all the way around.

Final Grade: C+

Finally …overall grade…

AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

Overall it was a really solid performance from the Tide. Alabama owned both lines of scrimmage and simply dominated the Bearcats.

I would have liked to have seen a little more consistency in the passing game, but considering the talent in the backend of the Cincinnati defense, it is a little understandable.

If the special teams unit would have had a little better day this would have been an A+ performance.

Final Grade: A-

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