The 13-0 Cincinnati Bearcats are the only undefeated team in the CFP semifinal, and their defense is known for two things — the outstanding play of cornerbacks Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner and Coby Bryant, and a group of pass-rushers that have put up 28 solo sacks, 37 combined sacks, 191 quarterback hurries, and 113 quarterback hits.
Add a man-heavy secondary together with an aggressive front, and you could say that the best possible counter to such a defense would be to run the ball right down their throats.
And that’s exactly what Alabama did to the Bearcats on their opening drive in the CFP semifinal Cotton Bowl. The Crimson Tide started their opening drive with 10 straight runs, and finished it with Bryce Young’s right-yard touchdown pass to receiver Slade Bolden. It was Young’s 44th touchdown pass of the season, setting a school record.
As ESPN’s Heather Dinish points out, it’s been a while since any Alabama team went bully-ball this often right out of the gate.
One more to put that drive into perspective for you: Alabama’s 10 rushes on that opening drive were their most rush attempts on their first possession of a game since 2008 vs Arkansas State (also 10). per @ESPNStatsInfo … repeat, 2008!!
— Heather Dinich (@CFBHeather) December 31, 2021