Arlington’s Chris Owens, Alabama Teammates Practice at AT&T Stadium Before Cotton Bowl
By Office of Communication
Posted on December 28, 2021, December 28, 2021

The Alabama Crimson Tide took to the field for practice at AT&T Stadium on Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 in preparation for Friday's 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the 86th Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.

The No. 1 team in the nation, worked for approximately two hours at the home of the Dallas Cowboys. Alabama will face the No. 4 Cincinnati Bearcats on Friday, December 31 at 2:30 p.m. CST on ESPN and ESPN Radio. Kickoff is slated for 2:40 p.m.

Among the Alabama players is offensive lineman Christopher Owens, an Arlington ISD Lamar High School graduate. Owens shared his excitement of returning home to play on Twitter. 

"Arlington was very helpful and instrumental in my entire life," Owens said. "I grew up down the road from AT&T Stadium. My last high school football game was at that stadium. My first ever college game was in that stadium. The first College Football Playoff game I played in was in that stadium. Being able to play there creates a level of comfort for me." 

Friday's semifinal will match the vaunted Crimson Tide defense against a prolific Bearcats' offense led by QB Desmond Ridder. The UC quarterback enters the game with 30 passing touchdowns, one short of the UC school record of 31 touchdowns held by Ben Mauck (2007) and Gunner Kiel (2014). Ridder has 3,190 passing yards this season, 353 passing yards shy of the UC single season passing yards record, held by current Bearcats' quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Gino Guidugli.

"Obviously, I think they're undefeated for a reason. I think they're coached extremely really well," Alabama Defensive Coordinator Pete Golding said on Monday. "I think they got a very good scheme. They use all 11. They run their quarterback as well. They work you horizontally and vertically so that they're very challenging from that as aspect."

"They do a really nice job with big people, creating extra gaps to make you be sound. I think, obviously, 9 [QB Desmond Ridder] has played a lot of football. I think he gets them in and out of certain plays, you know, at the right times based on coverages and fronts on the run game and pass game."

Alabama, the Southeastern Conference champion, finished the 2021 regular season with a record of 12-1, including 7-1 in league play. Cincinnati, the American Athletic Conference champion (AAC), went undefeated through the regular season with a 13-0 record, including an 8-0 mark in AAC play.

This year's matchup marks the fifth meeting between Alabama and Cincinnati and the first since 1990 when the Crimson Tide defeated the Bearcats, 45-7, in Birmingham, Ala. The Tide is undefeated all-time against Cincinnati. Alabama is making its ninth appearance at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. The Crimson Tide is 4-4 in its previous appearances. Cincinnati is making its first Classic appearance.

This year's Classic is a part of the ESPN bowl lineup for the eighth straight year. Sean McDonough and Todd Blackledge are set to the call the action from the booth with Molly McGrath and Laura Rutledge reporting from the sidelines.

ESPN Radio returns as the Classic's national radio partner for the eighth consecutive year with Sean Kelley and Barrett Jones in the booth and Ian Fitzsimmons on the sidelines to describe all the action from AT&T Stadium.

Alabama Crimson Tide practices ahead of the 86th Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.

Cotton Bowl, AT&T Stadium, College Football Playoff
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