2021 Rose Bowl
College Football Playoff Semifinal
107th Rose Bowl Game
2021 Rose Bowl logo.jpg
1234 Total
Notre Dame 0707 14
Alabama 14773 31
DateJanuary 1, 2021
StadiumAT&T Stadium
LocationArlington, Texas
MVPOffense: DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama)
Defense: Patrick Surtain II (CB, Alabama)
FavoriteAlabama by 20[1]
RefereeJohn O'Neill (Big Ten)[2]
United States TV coverage
NetworkESPN and ESPN Radio
AnnouncersESPN: Sean McDonough (play-by-play)
Todd Blackledge (analyst)
Todd McShay and Allison Williams (sidelines)
ESPN Radio: Joe Tessitore, Andre Ware, Holly Rowe
Nielsen ratings(18.89 million viewers)[3]
International TV coverage
NetworkESPN Deportes
ESPN Brasil
Rose Bowl
 < 2020  2022
1 vs. 4 Seed CFP Semifinal Game
 < 2019 Peach 2021 Cotton

The 2021 Rose Bowl (branded as the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One for sponsorship reasons) was a college football bowl game played on January 1, 2021, with kickoff at 3:00 p.m. CST at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The 107th playing of the Rose Bowl Game, it was one of two College Football Playoff (CFP) semifinal games; its winner faced the winner of the Sugar Bowl at the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship. It was also one of the 2020–21 bowl games concluding the 2020 FBS football season.

It was the first playing of the Rose Bowl outside of Pasadena, California, since 1942, in a move prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic in California.

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

The game was originally scheduled to be played at the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, California. In early December 2020, it was announced that the bowl would be contested behind closed doors without fans, due to California Governor Gavin Newsom's orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in California.[4] Organizers attempted to negotiate an exemption to the health orders—which prohibit any spectators at a sporting event—in order to allow the family members of participating players to attend.[5] However, they were denied.[5]

On December 15, the Los Angeles Times reported that "serious considerations" were being made to re-locate the game due to the state of the pandemic in California, with major surges in new cases,[6] and ICU capacity in Southern California declared to be 0% as of December 17.[7] On December 19, 2020, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association announced that the game would be relocated to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.[5] The only prior time the Rose Bowl was played outside of Pasadena was in 1942 during World War II; after large gatherings were prohibited on the west coast due to fears of a Japanese attack following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the game was re-located to Duke Stadium in Durham, North Carolina.[6]

The Association stated that it was not immediately clear if the game would still be called the "Rose Bowl", as consent would also have to be obtained from the city of Pasadena, due to a master license agreement covering use of the name (which is co-owned by the Tournament of Roses Association and Pasadena's municipal government).[8][9] A later press release from the Association referred to the game as the College Football Playoff Semifinal presented by Capital One, pending a decision on usage of the Rose Bowl name.[10]

A formal decision was scheduled to be discussed by city officials in Pasadena on December 22.[11] On December 30, the City of Pasadena approved use of the Rose Bowl name for the game in Arlington,[12] reportedly after receiving $2 million from the Tournament of Roses “to assist the city with its expenses and lost revenue”.[13]

College Football Playoff

AT&T Stadium, site of the relocated Rose Bowl
AT&T Stadium, site of the relocated Rose Bowl
Semifinals Championship
January 1 – Rose Bowl
AT&T Stadium, Arlington
  1   Alabama 31  
  4   Notre Dame 14   January 11 – National Championship
Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens
      1   Alabama 52
January 1 – Sugar Bowl
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans
    3   Ohio State 24
  2   Clemson 28
  3   Ohio State 49  


Teams for the game were selected by the College Football Playoff selection committee and announced on December 20, 2020.[14] The game matched top-ranked Alabama and fourth-ranked Notre Dame. In seven prior meetings, Notre Dame held a 5–2 edge; the programs had most recently played in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game, which Alabama won by a score of 42–14.[15]

Alabama Crimson Tide

Main article: 2020 Alabama Crimson Tide football team

Alabama entered the bowl with an 11–0 record, having won all 10 of their Southeastern Conference (SEC) regular season games, followed by a win over Florida in the SEC Championship Game. The Crimson Tide had last appeared in a CFP semifinal game following the 2018 season, when they defeated Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. Alabama had previously appeared in six Rose Bowl games, most recently in 1946, with a record of 4–1–1.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Main article: 2020 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

Notre Dame entered the bowl with a 10–1 record. The Fighting Irish, who traditionally compete in football as an independent, played the 2020 season as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Notre Dame defeated nine ACC teams and one non-conference program (South Florida) during the regular season, then lost to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. The Fighting Irish had last appeared in a CFP semifinal game following the 2018 season, when they lost to Clemson in the Cotton Bowl. The only prior appearance by Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl had been a victory over Stanford in the 1925 edition.

Game summary

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the 2021 Rose Bowl presented by Capital One
1 2 34Total
No. 4 Notre Dame 0 7 0714
No. 1 Alabama 14 7 7331

at AT&T StadiumArlington, Texas

Game information
First quarter
  • (10:14) BAMA – DeVonta Smith 26 yard pass from Mac Jones, Will Reichard kick (Drive: 7 plays, 79 yards, 2:36; Alabama 7–0)
  • (4:19) BAMA – Jahleel Billingsley 12 yard pass from Mac Jones, Will Reichard kick (Drive: 5 plays, 97 yards, 2:11; Alabama 14–0)
Second quarter
  • (11:16) ND – Kyren Williams 1 yard rush, Jonathan Doerer kick (Drive: 15 plays, 75 yards, 8:03; Alabama 14–7)
  • (8:49) BAMA – DeVonta Smith 34 yard pass from Mac Jones, Will Reichard kick (Drive: 6 plays, 84 yards, 2:21; Alabama 21–7)
Third quarter
  • (4:58) BAMA – DeVonta Smith 7 yard pass from Mac Jones, Will Reichard kick (Drive: 5 play, 62 yards, 2:29; Alabama 28–7)
Fourth quarter
  • (12:45) BAMA – Will Reichard 41 yard field goal (Drive: 10 plays, 47 yards, 4:20; Alabama 31–7)
  • (0:56) ND – Ian Book 1 yard rush, Jonathan Doerer kick (Drive: 14 plays, 80 yards, 4:36; Alabama 31–14)


Statistics ND BAMA
First downs 24 24
Plays–yards 80–375 55–437
Rushes–yards 38–139 25–140
Passing yards 236 297
Passing: comp–att–int 28–42–1 25–30–0
Time of possession 33:43 26:17
Team Category Player Statistics
Notre Dame Passing Ian Book 27/39, 229 yards, 1 INT
Rushing Kyren Williams 16 carries, 64 yards, 1 TD
Receiving Michael Mayer 7 receptions, 62 yards
Alabama Passing Mac Jones 25/30, 297 yards, 4 TD
Rushing Najee Harris 15 carries, 125 yards
Receiving DeVonta Smith 7 receptions, 130 yards, 3 TD

See also


  1. ^ "College football bowl betting lines released". 247Sports. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
  2. ^ Austro, Ben (December 23, 2020). "2020-21 bowl officiating assignments". footballzebras.com. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  3. ^ "CFP semis hit New Year's Day low, but top non-NFL events in year". www.sportsmediawatch.com. Sports Media Watch. January 5, 2021. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  4. ^ "CFP's Rose Bowl won't have fans; Fiesta, too". ESPN.com. December 3, 2020. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "Rose Bowl CFP semifinal moved to AT&T Stadium". ESPN.com. December 20, 2020. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "ESPN could play an influential role in keeping 2021 Rose Bowl game in Pasadena". Los Angeles Times. December 15, 2020. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  7. ^ "ICU availability in Southern California at 0%, and it's going to get worse, officials warn". Los Angeles Times. December 17, 2020. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  8. ^ "College Football Playoff semifinal at Rose Bowl moves to Texas". Los Angeles Times. December 19, 2020. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
  9. ^ "CFP Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Stadium to be Relocated to AT&T Stadium in Dallas on January 1, 2021". tournamentofroses.com (Press release). Pasadena Tournament of Roses. December 19, 2020. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
  10. ^ "Alabama and Notre Dame to Play in the College Football Playoff Semifinal Presented by Capital One". tournamentofroses.com (Press release). December 20, 2020. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
  11. ^ "As coronavirus surges, Gov. Gavin Newsom explains why Pasadena's Rose Bowl game has to hit the road". pasadenastarnews.com. December 21, 2020. Retrieved December 22, 2020. With the big game moving to Texas, city officials will meet Tuesday to decide whether to allow organizers there to use the Rose Bowl name.
  12. ^ "It's Official: The Rose Bowl Game in Texas Will Still Be the Rose Bowl Game". spectrumnews1.com. December 30, 2020. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  13. ^ Bermont, Bradley (December 30, 2020). "It's official: Pasadena will allow Rose Bowl name to be used in Texas, just this once". pasadenastarnews.com. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  14. ^ Dinich, Heather (August 5, 2020). "College Football Playoff selection committee moves final ranking release to Dec. 20 from Dec. 6". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  15. ^ "Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Alabama Crimson Tide football series history games list". winsipedia.com. Retrieved December 30, 2020.

Further reading