Cincinnati’s decorated cornerbacks seem to be to ‘dominate’ Alabama in Cotton Bowl -

What can be a lopsided Cotton Bowl matchup in some categories will statistically be a meeting of one of the nation's most fulfilling offenses, Alabama's, against one of the gold standard defenses, Cincinnati's.

Alabama is fourth in the nation in averaging 42.5 points per game, and Cincinnati has allowed the fourth-fewest elements per online game at sixteen.1.

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"We've received a tall order in entrance of us," Alabama offensive coordinator invoice O'Brien referred to Tuesday. "We need to play our most excellent football game of the year offensively with a view to have an opportunity during this online game."

The battle inside the battle will come on the perimeter the place a pair of 2022 first-round NFL draft picks in Alabama large receiver Jameson Williams and Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad Gardner could meet. Williams turned into a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's optimum receiver, whereas Gardner changed into a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award because the most efficient protecting again.

Gardner's teammate on the contrary cornerback spot, Coby Bryant, at last gained the Thorpe.

"Their two corners are lengthy and are respectable avid gamers," Nick Saban noted remaining week. "They play loads of man-to-man. They've got good ball knowledge. They're first rate man-to-man players. They're aggressive within the means they play. They don't make a lot of error. They're wise. They've obtained lots of experience, even after they exchange it up and they play zone. They're ball-hawkers, they're all ball-hawkers back there. They in reality assault the ball. They've acquired a lot of turnovers."

The Bearcats rank third within the country in forcing 29 turnovers, including 18 interceptions. Bryant and Gardner every have three, while linebacker Deshawn tempo leads the group with four.

Gardner, a consensus first-group All-American, has not allowed a touchdown seize over him in three seasons at Cincinnati.

"I take a lot of pride in that," he observed Monday. "And that just comes with my instruction main as much as the online game. It's no longer whatever thing I simply think of after I'm off the container or once I'm on the container. I simply take each snap one by one."

he's also wide-spread via nickname Sauce.

"I'm in most cases called 'Sauce' by my teammates and some of my coaches," he explained. "educate Fick [Luke Fickell] nonetheless calls me Ahmad. Which is satisfactory. I don't intellect being referred to as my criminal identify. And that became a nickname given to me by way of my little league instruct, educate Tez [Curtez Harris], when i was round six years ancient."

Williams, a first-crew All-the united states decide on through the associated Press, ranks third in the country with 15 landing catches and is averaging 21.25 yards on his sixty eight catches, which would area Ja'Marr Chase's 21.19 in 2019 because the SEC list.

"He's a quick guy. He's a fine receiver. It's going to be a huge problem for us," Gardner stated. "I'm simply going to do everything that y'all see me do on movie. And that's going to assist me get the job done."

Williams is ESPN's most effective vast receiver in the 2022 draft type, whereas Gardner is the second-rated cornerback. Bryant is among those tied at No. 10 at his position.

Bryant, a 2nd-group All-the usa opt for by the AP, can be switching his jersey from No. 7 to No. eight to honor the late basketball star Kobe Bryant.

The fifth-yr senior from Cleveland mentioned he respects Williams' game and his pace however feels his personal group has prepared him for Alabama's appropriate wideout.

"We face velocity daily," Bryant pointed out. "we've quick receivers ourselves -- Tyler Scott, Tre Tucker, even Mike young. Alec Pierce obviously. So we face velocity every day.

"just enjoying our video game and being confident -- we will't simply get out of character for someone being speedy or anything else. simply being ourselves. Like I referred to, simply dominating the manner we be aware of the way to dominate."

Mike Rodak is an Alabama beat reporter for Alabama Media neighborhood. comply with him on Twitter @mikerodak.

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