Kirk Herbstreit recalled what he expected from Alabama before the Cotton Bowl, and he mentioned that it was partly about what Jameson Williams could do in the passing game. But it turned into Alabama’s dominance running the ball as the Crimson Tide led 17-3 at halftime.

Herbstreit and fellow ESPN analyst David Pollack weighed in with Rece Davis and Desmond Howard from the Orange Bowl site during halftime of the Cotton Bowl.

Instead, Herbstreit said Alabama tested the manhood of Cincinnati early on.

“They won the line of scrimmage, not just this (first) drive, but most of the game,” Herbstreit said. “This first drive, I thought it might be a precursor of the entire game. But Cincinnati did adjust defensively and make some plays.”

For the Cincinnati offense, David Pollack said after the first drive, the Bearcats didn’t have an answer for the Alabama defense.

“You can tell they want to get the ball out of (Desmond) Ridder’s hands quick, but this is what Alabama’s doing,” Pollack said. “They know that too, jump up and bat the ball.”

Herbstreit also pointed out that Cincinnati could not run the ball, as it only had 17 rushing yards by halftime.

“If you get into obvious passing situations for Ridder, it takes away what he’s able to do as an athlete,” Herbstreit said.