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Cole Smith injury: Status of Cincinnati kicker for Cotton Bowl vs. Alabama

The kicking game has been a mess for Cincinnati, which could be without Cole Smith on Friday afternoon.

Cincinnati Bearcats place kicker Cole Smith kicks a field goal against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in the first half at Nippert Stadium. Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Update 3:00 p.m. Smith is on the field and warming up for the Bearcats.

The Cincinnati Bearcats became the first Group of 5 conference team to find themselves in the College Football Playoff, and they’ll be fighting for all the little guys on Friday afternoon in the Cotton Bowl against the Alabama Crimson Tide. This game will get started at 3:30 p.m. ET from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas and can be seen on ESPN.

The Bearcats are relatively healthy heading into this big matchup, but there is a question mark with an important position with kicker Cole Smith.

Cole Smith: Cotton Bowl injury updates

Cole Smith has missed plenty of time this season and hasn’t dressed for a game since late October. The kicking game has been an issue all year for the Bearcats, which is why Luke Fickell has resorted to going for it more often than he’d probably like.

Bearcats kickers are just 7-for-17 on the season, and true freshman Christian Lowery missed a 23-yard field goal in the AAC Championship Game. On the season, Smith has made just 3 of 8 field goals, so it’s been a bit of a mess with whoever lines up to kick field goals for Cincinnati. The Bearcats are going to need touchdowns instead of field goals against Alabama but if it comes down to a last-second kick, Cincinnati could be in a tough spot.

Alabama is a 13.5-point favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook with the over/under set at 57.