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Alabama vs. Cincinnati live score, updates, highlights from 2021 College Football Playoff semifinal

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After longstanding complaints about a lack of parity in college football, the sport’s biggest stage — the College Football Playoff and its semifinal matchups — will feature some new blood, namely Michigan and, most notably, Cincinnati.

Cincinnati is the first Group of 5 school to make the Playoff thanks to an undefeated regular season and a conference title. The Bearcats finished the season ranked No. 4, which means they’ll take on No. 1 seed Alabama as Nick Saban’s group looks for its fourth national championship of the Playoff era and second straight title.

TROCCHI: Why is America not embracing Cincinnati?

The Bearcats have become the darlings of college football for making the Playoff, but they’ve shown before that they can compete with some of the best teams. They lost to Georgia by three points last season.

They’re stout on defense, ranking second in pass defense, fourth in scoring defense and eighth in total defense nationally this season. Defensive back Coby Bryant is the unit’s leader. And the offense, led by quarterback Desmond Ridder and running back Jerome Ford, has more than enough firepower.

Alabama, meanwhile, is still Alabama. The Crimson Tide rank third nationally in sacks, ninth in third-down defense, second in third-down offense, sixth in total offense and fourth in scoring offense.

BENDER: What to expect from CFP semifinal matchups

At the center of Alabama’s success has been quarterback and Heisman winner Bryce Young, while linebacker Will Anderson has anchored the defense. The Tide will be down one of their top receivers, however; John Metchie is out for the season with a torn ACL.

Sporting News is tracking live scoring updates and highlights from Alabama vs. Cincinnati in their College Football Playoff semifinal on Friday. Follow below for complete results from the 2021 Cotton Bowl Classic.

MORE: Watch Alabama vs. Cincinnati live with fuboTV (7-day free trial)

Alabama vs. Cincinnati score

  Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 F
Alabama 7 10
Cincinnati 3 0

Alabama vs. Cincinnati live score, updates

6:35 p.m.: Brian Robinson again with sizeable gains of 19, 8 and 4 as it’s now second-and-2 on the Cincinnati 47.

6:34 p.m.: Alabama’s defense sniffs out Cincinnati’s fourth down play call perfectly on the QB keep and they swarm the backfield, drop Ridder for a loss on the sack and take back over on their 26 following the sack

6:30 p.m.: With the play clock winding down, Cincinnati has to burn a timeout on fourth-and-3 from the Alabama 22. They need points here and quickly with 10:27 remaining after a shot to the end zone was ruled incomplete.

6:29 p.m.: Cincinnati gets its first real big passing play of the night. Ridder hits Michael Young on a post route for 28 yards down to the Alabama 29.

6:23 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA. Young hits Cameron Latu from 9 yards out and the Tide extend their lead and this one seems to be out of reach. Alabama 24, Cincinnati 6 with 13:52 left in the game. 

6:20 p.m.: The fourth quarter starts with Alabama at the Cincinnati 44 and and then Young hits Williams for 16 to the Alabama 28. But an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moves Bama all the way up to the Cincinnati 13.

End third quarter: Alabama 17, Cincinnati 6

6:16 p.m.: Brian Robinson’s great game continues. He takes it 11 yards to the Cincinnati 44 to end the third quarter. Alabama is 15 minutes away from another national title game berth.

6:14 p.m.: It’s quickly third-and-16 with the clock running here in the third and just over 1:20 remaining. But Young hits Jameson Williams on a hybrid crossing route and the Tide convert. 

6:12 p.m.: Whatever Cincinnati dialed up coming out of the timeout, it didn’t work. Will Anderson gets to Ridder quite easily for the sack and Cincinnati can’t capitalize off the interception. A punt means Alabama takes over at its own 30.

6:10 p.m.: Cincinnati gets hit for a penalty and then a loss of yards on a run by Ford. Ridder’s pass on second-and-16 falls incomplete and the Bearcats call timeout with a third-and-16 looming.

6:03 p.m.: INTERCEPTION CINCINNATI. The Bearcats get the ball right back as Bryce Young is pressured and tries to throw out of a sack but instead gets picked. Bearcats take over near midfield.

5:59 p.m.: The two teams trade three-and-outs. Alabama takes over at its own 26 and will look to get on the board for the first time this quarter with 6:03 remaining.

5:56 p.m.: A promising drive stalls and Alabama punts it away. Cincinnati takes back over at its own 29.

5:51 p.m.: It’s Brian Robinson’s world and we’re just living in it. He’s got runs of 2, 17 and 3 yards in his last three plays.

5:47 p.m: FIELD GOAL CINCINNATI. The Bearcats get points to open the quarter and cut into Alabama’s defecit. Alabama 17, Cincinnati 6 with 9:57 left.

5:46 p.m.: Cincinnati gets into the red zone, to the Alabama 19, but Desmond Ridder sails two straight passes and overthrows them. Fourth-and-5 from the 19 and the field goal unit comes out.

5:44 p.m.: Ford takes it for 9 and then Ridder finishes the job and gets 3 and the first down to the Alabama 24. The Bearcats are nearing the red zone.

5:43 p.m.: Ridder and the Cincinnati offense are driving right now. He hits Alec Pierce for 12 yards and another first. The Bearcats are at the Alabama 36.

5:42 p.m.: Jerome Ford finishes what Ridder started and gains 2 for the first down. Ridder then completes two straight passes of 7 and 9 yards to Tyler Scott for another first down past midfield.

5:39 p.m.: The third quarter starts with a 9 yard rush by Desmond Ridder to the Cincinnati 34.

Halftime: Alabama 17, Cincinnati 3

5:12 p.m.; The Bearcats go three-and-out after two incompletions and two sacks to end the half. The Bearcats get the ball back to start the second half.

5:07 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA. Young hits Brooks for the 44-yard score as Brooks extends at the end and punches it in. Alabama 17. Cincinnati 3 with 1:28 remaining.

5:05 p.m.: Another big run by Robinson, this one for 23 yards puts Alabama at their own 42 and then a catch by Ja’Corey Brooks goes for 14 and the Tide cross midfield to the Cincinnati 44.

5:04 p.m.: Now more manageable field position and more breathing room for Alabama. Jameson Williams hauls it in for 4 yards to the 16 with 2:36 left. Each team has two timeouts left

5:00 p.m.: Cincinnati punts it away and Alabama muffs it, but the Tide recover and fall on it just barely. Some flags on the play though. Alabama takes over at its own 6-yard line now following the penalty.

4:54 p.m.: The Crimson Tide go three-and-out after Young can’t hit Billingsley on two straight attempts. The field goal unit comes out but Reichard misses the 44-yarder. Still Alabama 10, Cincinnati 3 with 6:21 left in the first half.

4:53 p.m.: Coming out of the timeout, Young hits Ja’Core Brooks for 10 yards to the Cincinnati 30 anf a first a down.

4:51 p.m.: Cincinnati calls Its first timeout of the game with 6:21 left in the second quarter and Alabama looking at second-and-1.

4:49 p.m.: Jameson Williams makes his first appearance of the game and hauls it in for 6 yards and a first down. 

4:48 p.m.: Runs by Brian Robinson of 6 and 13 put Alabama at their own 45. Robinson up to 93 yards on 13 carries, good for 7.2 yards per rush.

4:46 p.m: On second-and-11 from the Alabama 8 following an injury timeout, Young hits Jahleel Billingsley for a gain of 12.

4:36 p.m.: The Bearcats can’t make anything happen and they’ll punt it away on fourth-and-4. Alabama takes over at their own 9. Worst starting field position of the game so far for the Tide.

4:31 p.m.: On third-and-14, Cincinnati rushes and draws a hold. Alabama gets hit with a hold but the Bearcats force the three-and-out. On fourth-and-14, Alabama punts it away for the first time and Cincinnati takes over at its own 30. There’s 11:17 left in the second quarter.

4:30 p.m.: Alabama gets hit with an illegal formation penalty. Now first-and-15.

4:27 p.m.: Cincinnati’s drive following the Alabama field goal seems to be going nowhere quickly. Ridder is sacked for a loss of 9 on second down and then only picks up 5 on third. Fourth-and-9 and the Bearcats punt it away and Alabama takes over at its own 31.

4:25 p.m.: FIELD GOAL ALABAMA. The Crimson Tide extend their lead as Will Reichard’s kick from 26 yards out is good. Alabama 10, Cincinnati 3 with 14:56 left in the first half.

4:24 p.m.: Nick Saban sends out the field goal unit but they get driven back 5 yards on a penalty.

4:23 p.m.: The second quarter will start with Alabama looking at fourth-and-goal from the Cincinnati 3. 142 total yards so far for the Tide in that quarter.

End first quarter: Alabama 7, Cincinnati 3

4:21 p.m.: On second-and-goal, Bryce Young is sacked for a loss of 6, but it ultimately doesn’t matter as he gains those yards back and then some with a 12 yard run to end the first quarter.

4:18 p.m.: It’s the Brian Robinson show so far this corner as he has yet another double-digit run. This one goes for 15 yards and Alabama is now looking at first-and-goal from the 10.

4:17 p.m.: Alabama keeps the offense on the field on fourth down and it pays off. Needing 2 yards, Robinson gets 4 and the first down. Now first-and-10 Alabama from the 25.

4:17 p.m.: The ruling of Illegal forward to pass stands, but it’s now third-and-14.

4:13 p.m.: Our first real need for replay is here. Currently looking at whether Alabama committed an illegal forward pass.

4:11 p.m.: Another strong run by Brian Robinson, this one goes for another 16 yards and Alabama moves all the way up to the Cincinnati 37.

4:10 p.m.: Young finds Bolden again and picks up 16 yards, including 11 after the catch. Ball at the Alabama 47 now for the Tide.

4:09 p.m.: After an incompletion on second down, it’s quickly third-and-9 but the ball moves up 5 yards on a defensive penalty. Now third-and-4 for Bryce Young and Alabama.

4:08 p.m.: Alabama’s second drive of the game starts at the 25 again and they begin it the same way they began the last one — with a run. But it only gains 1 yard.

4:04 p.m.: FIELD GOAL CINCINNATI. The Bearcats do in fact get points out of their opening drive, albeit only three. Cole Smith hits a 33-yard field goal and puts Cincinnati on the board. Alabama 7, Cincinnati 3 with 4:52 left in the first.

4:02 p.m: Wow. Alabama’s defense perfectly sniffs out Cincinnati’s screen pass on third-and-goal from the 9 as they register a tackle for loss of 6 yards. Field goal unit coming out.

3:57 p.m.: On second-down, Cincinnati picks up 22 as Ridder hits Tyler Scott out of the backfield. Alabama calls its first timeout of the game as Cincinnati is at the Alabama 9 with 5:48 left in the quarter.

3:57 p.m.: Desmond Ridder completes a nice 19-yard pass to Michael Young, making an impressive throw on a roll out. Ball at the Alabama 31 with second-and-10 upcoming.

3:55 p.m.: On third-and-1, Ryan Montgomery gets three yards and Cincinnati is officially at midfield with a first down coming up.

3:53 p.m.: The Bearcats are now at their own 47 thanks to a 9-yard run by Jerome Ford. Cincinnati is attempting to answer with points on its opening drive.

3:52 p.m.: Cincinnati’s opening drive will begin at their 25.

3:47 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA. The Tide pass it for the first time on the 11th play of the drive and Bryce Young hits a wide open Slade Bolden for 8 yards and the score. Alabama out front first. Alabama 7, Cincinnati 0 with 9:51 left in the first.

3:47 p.m.: 10 plays so far for Alabama, all of them runs. A change of pace for Nick Saban’s squad.

3:45 p.m.: Robinson then peels off 16 more yards on runs of 9 and 7 plus a penalty and Alabama is now well inside the red zone at the Cincinnati 13.

3:44 p.m.: Jameson Williams makes his first appearance. This time it’s out of the backfield for 18 yards and it puts the Crimson Tide across midfield to the Cincinnati 35.

3:42 p.m.: Alabama starts the game with three runs by Brian Robinson and pick up the first down on third-and-1. 

3:41 p.m.: The opening kick goes for a touchback. Alabama takes over at its own 25.

3:37 p.m.: Cincinnati wins the toss and defers. The Bearcats’ attempt at making history starts on defense, which they have to like. They rank fourth in scoring defense and eighth in total defense.

Alabama vs. Cincinnati start time

Kickoff for Alabama vs. Cincinnati is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 31. It is the first of the two Playoff games, with the Orange Bowl between No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 Georgia kicking off at 7:30 p.m. ET.

What channel is Alabama vs. Cincinnati on?

Alabama vs. Cincinnati will be broadcast nationally on ESPN. Sean McDonough (play-by-play) and Todd Blackledge (analyst) will call the game from the booth while Molly McGrath and Laura Rutledge will report from the sidelines.

ESPN is also rolling out its Megacast for the College Football Playoff, once again providing alternate broadcasts across its family of networks. Here’s the full rundown.

Telecast TV channel
Command Center ESPN2
Skycast ESPNU
All-22 ESPN News
Spanish language ESPN Deportes

How to live stream College Football Playoff games

Both College Football Playoff semifinals will be broadcast on ESPN and are available to stream live on all of the network’s digital platforms, including ESPN.com and the ESPN app. 

Cord-cutters have several live streaming options. Below is the list. 

Streaming option Cable subscription needed? Free? Cost Free trial?
ESPN.com/ESPN App Yes Yes
Yahoo! Sports App No Yes
fuboTV No No $60/month Yes
AT&T TV Now No No $55/month Yes
Hulu Plus Live TV No No $55/month Yes
Sling TV No No $35/month No
YouTube TV No No $65/month Yes

College Football Playoff schedule

Date Bowl Matchup Time (ET) TV
Dec. 31 Cotton Bowl Classic (CFP semifinal) No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Cincinnati 3:30 p.m. ESPN, fuboTV
Dec. 31 Orange Bowl (CFP semifinal) No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 Georgia 7:30 p.m. ESPN, fuboTV
Jan. 10 CFP National Championship Game TBD vs. TBD 8 p.m. ESPN, fuboTV



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Chelsea and Liverpool prove Premier League excitement, even if title is a foregone conclusion

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LONDON — Manchester City have shown themselves to be in a league of their own, so the Premier League should be thankful that Chelsea and Liverpool are still able to keep us all entertained. Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge helped neither team and only consolidated City’s vice-like grip on the top spot, but football is about jeopardy, risk and overcoming flaws, and when it all comes together, you get an unforgettable game like this one.

Even before City moved 11 points clear at the top of table with a 2-1 win at Arsenal on Saturday, this second-versus-third clash was always a case of both sides needing to win to maintain faint hopes of catching Pep Guardiola’s winning machine. City’s win at the Emirates was their 11th successive Premier League victory and they have all been won with such monotonous ease, scoring 33 goals and conceding just seven, that every three points is now met with little more than a shrug of inevitability.

Barring an unlikely collapse in the second half of the season, City will win a fourth league title in five years and you will struggle to count on the fingers of one hand the times they have had to dig deep into their reserves to overcome adversity during that period. Guardiola has built one of the all-time great teams in English football history during his six years at the Etihad, but they may simply be too good to contribute to games like this one.

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Chelsea and Liverpool gave us such a pulsating encounter because they both have weaknesses that can be exploited by their opponents. And as a result, they both had to take risks in an attempt to secure a crucial victory.

And they also had to go into the game with unwanted distractions hovering over both clubs.

Chelsea, with three wins from their past eight in the league, were without £97.5 million striker Romelu Lukaku, dropped by coach Thomas Tuchel because of an outspoken interview about his failure to impress so far at Stamford Bridge since returning to the club from Internazionale in the summer. And Liverpool were without manager Jurgen Klopp, goalkeeper Alisson, defender Joel Matip and forward Roberto Firmino — all isolating because of COVID-19.

City, in contrast, have enjoyed a remarkably serene run of successes since losing to Crystal Palace in October, which is why they are free-rolling to another title. But the Premier League is regarded as the most exciting in world football because of games like this, and teams like Chelsea and Liverpool and the drama they create.

From the first minute, when Sadio Mane was fortunate to escape a red card for appearing to strike Cesar Azpilicueta in the face with an elbow after just 14 seconds, the game was incident-packed. Azpilicueta later said it was a “clear red card” when interviewed after the game.

Christian Pulisic, playing centrally in the absence of Lukaku, wasted a golden chance to open the scoring on seven minutes when, with only stand-in keeper Caoimhin Kelleher to beat, he was indecisive and allowed the youngster to smother the ball. It proved a costly miss when, two minutes later, Mane took advantage of his lucky escape from a sending off by pouncing on a mistake by Trevoh Chalobah to score.

Chelsea were in disarray and Liverpool looked like the team that won the title in 2019. When Mohamed Salah made it 2-0 on 26 minutes with a stunning near-post finish after gliding past Marcos Alonso, it seemed as though Liverpool were about to give Chelsea the kind of hammering they inflicted on Manchester United during a 5-0 rout at Old Trafford earlier this season.

Liverpool were unable to score a third, though, and two Chelsea goals in the space of three minutes at the end of the first half turned the game on its head.

When Kelleher punched Alonso’s in-swinging free kick clear on 42 minutes, the keeper looked to have done well to deny the Chelsea defender. But the ball dropped the Mateo Kovacic on the edge of the penalty area and, as he was backpedaling, the midfielder somehow guided a volley beyond Kelleher and into the net. It was a spectacular display of technique by the former Real Madrid player and it gave Chelsea a foothold back into the game.

And it took them just three minutes to score the equaliser when Pulisic atoned for his earlier miss by latching onto N’Golo Kante‘s pass before beating Kelleher with a precise left-foot shot past the Republic of Ireland international. As the chaos continued on the pitch, Mason Mount almost put Chelsea 3-2 up in first-half stoppage time with a scuffed volley that bounced just wide of the post.

When a game is so eventful in the first half, it rarely delivers a second half of the same quality because of coaches plugging the holes that had led to the earlier excitement. But while the goals stopped flowing, the entertainment didn’t.

Salah forced a crucial save from Edouard Mendy with a 25-yard lob on 57 minutes and Mane was also denied by the Chelsea keeper. Kelleher, not to be outdone, then produced a stunning save to prevent Pulisic from scoring his second of the game.

In total, there were 25 chances over the 90 minutes, with both sides registering six on target. Neither could find a winner, though.

“For the outside world it was quite a good game to watch, but we came here for three points and didn’t get them,” Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk said.

Even if one team had done enough to claim all three points, it’s difficult to imagine they would have been able to close the gap on City, who are destined for another title. And the challenge facing both chasing clubs only grows more daunting in the next month, with Salah (Egypt), Mendy and Mane (both Senegal) now heading off to the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

But the Premier League still knows how to excite, even if the title is already a foregone conclusion.

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Michael Scudamore has Do Your Job in mind for Doncaster | Racing News

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Doncaster’s Lightning Novices’ Chase could be next on the agenda for Do Your Job following his creditable effort in defeat at Kempton over the festive period.

Runner-up to My Drogo and Belfast Banter in Grade Two and Grade One novice hurdles in the spring, Michael Scudamore’s stable star made a successful start to his chasing career at Warwick in November.

The eight-year-old fell at the eighth fence when stepped up in class for the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown, but bounced back to finish second to Edwardstone in the Wayward Lad last week.

With Scudamore keen to avoid a rematch with the winner, who is seemingly bound for the Kingmaker at Warwick, Do Your Job could instead bid for Grade Two honours at Doncaster on January 29.

Reflecting on his Kempton performance, the trainer said: “I was very pleased. He jumped well and travelled well and did everything right, he was just beaten by a better horse on the day.

“The main objective was a clear round really and maybe if we hadn’t fallen at Sandown we might have pressed on a bit more and made it more of a staying race.

“The most important thing was to get a clear round under his belt and get some more experience over fences for him.

“I think we’ll stick to novice races while we can and we might look to the race at Doncaster. That is what we have pencilled in at the moment, anyway.

“It would certainly be Plan A to try and avoid Edwardstone and I was very pleased to read he was going to go for the Kingmaker. Hopefully they stick to that plan!”

While Do Your Job looks set to remain in novice company on his next start, Scudamore admitted is considering a step into the handicap arena for the Grand Annual at Cheltenham – a race he won with Next Sensation in 2015.

He added: “I’m sure he’ll have an entry in that. He also ran very well at Aintree last year, so there’s that to consider as well.

“He looks like a horse that could have the right sort of profile for a Grand Annual and we’ll see nearer the time.

“In some ways it might make more sense to go for a handicap now, but as we saw at Kempton some of these novice events don’t have a lot of runners in them and there’s some decent prize-money on offer, so it seems silly to pass them over when you’ve only got one chance to run in them really.”



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Adiwang hopes to fight Saruta next

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Lito Adiwang was booted out of ONE Championship strawweight rankings after coming up short against Jarred Brooks. ‘The Thunder Kid’ is already itching to step back inside the cage and hopes to fight a ranked fighter next.

Of the fighters in the ONE Championship strawweight division rankings, the 28-year-old Filipino seeks to score a date with No.2-ranked Yosuke Saruta.

“I want a big comeback. I still want a big name. I want to challenge Yosuke Saruta. Maybe if ONE allows it, and he wants it, then I’ll take it. Saruta is someone who I really want to test myself against,” said Adiwang in an interview with ONE Championship.

The 28-year-old admits it is a dangerous fight and a huge risk to take. The high-risk, high-reward scenario is something that Adiwang would like to take as he seeks to put his name back in the rankings again by beating a former champion.

“It’s a big risk for me because I’m coming off a loss, but I want a great comeback and a big name in my return so I don’t fall far off from the rankings.”


Lito Adiwang seeking for a better year in 2022 at ONE Championship

Adiwang now holds a professional record of 13-4 and has been competing in ONE Championship since October 2018. He won his first five fights before receiving his first loss against Koha Minowa via a split decision two years later.

The Benguet-based fighter had three fights in 2021. However, he also suffered his second loss in ONE Championship against Jarred Brooks.

Still in his prime, Adiwang goes back to the drawing board and seeks to polish his MMA skills in 2022.

“I have to check my mistakes inside the Circle, but I also have to check my mistakes outside the Circle. It has to be a balance. Sometimes, I forget other personal obligations and those are the things that I have to work on. I have to balance things out based on last year. I have to correct this in 2022.”




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