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How Kentucky Beats Alabama

The Kentucky Wildcats are traveling to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to take on the No. 1 ranked Crimson Tide on Saturday. The Wildcats are a significant underdog, but will be playing with emotion after losing its beloved offensive line coach John Schlarman. Here’s how UK can win on the road: 


Shorten the game. The Kentucky offense can greatly assist its defense by staying on the field which in turn will limit the Tide’s offensive possessions. Converting on third down will be a critical task. UK must maintain its season average of 45% or higher conversion rate on third down. To achieve this, Eddie Gran’s unit will need to be effective on early downs and not live in must-passing situations. A heavy dose of Chris Rodriguez may be the solution for the Cats to live in the S.L.O.P. (Sustained, Long, Offensive, Possessions). 

Stay on schedule. See above. The Cats cannot afford to allow tackles for loss or QB sacks on first and second downs. UK had zero negative yardage plays in its recent outing vs. Vanderbilt. Alabama is a much better defense, but its offensive plan will need to include staying ahead of the chains. 

Block number 32. LB Dylan Moses is the quarterback of the Alabama defense. He’s racked up 50 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss in 2020 and is one of the best linebackers in college football. 

Locate numbers 13 and 9 pre-snap. “Star” Malachi Moore plays the hybrid linebacker/safety role and does so at an extremely high level. The true freshman’s pre-snap location will indicate both run and pass blitzes. Same can be said for strong safety Jordan Battle. These two defenders will load the box in order to stop the run. 

No turnovers. Cannot have turnovers on the road against an opponent that is a substantial favorite. UK must hold onto the football and not throw interceptions. Giving Mac Jones and that offense extra possessions could spell doom for the Cats. 


Prevent the homerun shot. QB Mac Jones is one of the best deep ball throwers that I’ve seen in many years. He has WR’s DeVonta Smith and John Metchie III at his disposal. Both are speedsters that have proven to be excellent in the vertical passing game. Metchie III is averaging 21 yards per catch. Smith has 56 catches for the season to go along with 8 touchdowns. Alabama leads the SEC by averaging 47 points and 555 yards per game. A great deal of those numbers are products of its deep passing attack. 

Tackle number 22. RB Najee Harris is the top ranked runner in the Southeastern Conference. Averaging 119 yards per game, Harris is capable of taking over a football game. He’s scored 14 touchdowns this season. Harris is the focus of the Tide’s run game and has 124 carries for the season. 

Pressure Mac Jones. Mac Jones, a one-time UK commit, is completing 78% of his passes and has thrown for 2,196 yards. He’s also tossed 16 touchdown passes and averaging 366 yards per game. The Heisman Trophy candidate is enjoying an historical season in Tuscaloosa. If given time, he can and will pick defenses apart. The Cats will need to influence the pocket in order to force Jones to be less accurate. 

Play assignment football. Coach Mark Stoops was not happy with his defense against Vanderbilt. The Wildcats allowed the Commodores to convert 11/17 on third down and surrendered 35 points as well as 407 total yards. Gap integrity and proper zone defense assignments in the passing game will have to be nearly flawless in order to beat the Tide. Missed assignments against this relentless offense will result in touchdowns. 


Make field goals. UK has to convert on all scoring opportunities, this includes field goals. Kicker Chance Poore was the SEC’s Special Team’s Player of the Week vs. Vandy. He will need to continue his good fortune on Saturday. 

Goodfellow be good. Replacing an All-American is not easy. Goodfellow averaged 46 yards per punt a week ago. He will need to flip the field in order to not give the Crimson Tide offense a shortened field. 


Kentucky will need to play a nearly unblemished football game to leave Tuscaloosa with a victory. Alabama is the number one ranked team in America for a reason. Nick Saban has future pros backed up by future pros with a team that is extremely well coached. 

Southeastern Conference football can be unforgiving. The Cats are faced with a challenge on Saturday. Several UK players have NFL aspirations. The tape from the Alabama game will be the first that scouts will turn on in order to evaluate “best on best.” The matchup against the Crimson Tide has to be looked at as an opportunity, not a chore. 

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

35 Comments for How Kentucky Beats Alabama

  1. Rick_S
    2:30 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    Stop it!!!!!!!!!!! Kentucky is not beating Bama…42-10 Bama

  2. Ryan Lemonds Toupee
    2:30 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink


  3. dhard
    2:46 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    Seems pretty simple to me, lock Alabama in their locker room. Or, have them only play 7 on each side of the ball.

    • Perry1987
      3:21 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

      Even Bama playing defense with 7 guys wouldnt help. Uks recievers still couldnt make a play or catch the damn ball, due to being covered by their own damn shadows!

    • runningunnin.454
      3:37 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

      The QBs and receivers did better last game; also the QBs hit the tight ends successfully.

    • Perry1987
      4:06 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

      Agreed. It was Vandy though the worst defense in the SEC, im cautiously optimistic.

  4. blueballs80
    2:51 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    Alabama is going to use this game as practice and we ain’t beating Bama Freddie. We can only hope we don’t lose by 30.

  5. Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
    2:54 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    Maybe if Stoops and Sabin switch places we’ll play just enough offense to only lose by 14. If Stoops is on the sidelines telling Eddie what to do we’ll lose by 20+.

  6. dhard
    2:56 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    My realistic hope, they dont get embarrassed.

  7. UK_fac_boi
    2:57 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    The article is about what needs to happen for Kentucky to win. Freddie didn’t guarantee victory for the Wildcats. Y’all need to chill and read before you speak.

    • BlueByYou
      2:59 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

      When has that ever stopped some of these comments? Think before you speak? Ain’t gonna happen

    • UKinIN
      3:02 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink


    • blueballs80
      3:19 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

      Unless Bama throws 10 interceptions and fumbles 15 times, then maybe we have a chance.

    • IndianaSucks
      1:19 am November 18, 2020 Permalink

      The point is it’s a waste of an article. That’s the lol factor. Is what it is…

  8. wildcatdon
    2:59 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    We have no shot. Why write an article like this? Our team does not play with the confidence they need to beat a team like Bama. Reflection on the head coach. Plays not to lose.

  9. kjd
    3:19 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    Covid outbreak quarantine for Alabama key players is only hope of competitive game.

  10. Headhurts
    3:35 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    Unless the game is close( ha ha) cats need to open the play book and leave it all on the field cause a loss is a loss, ugly-up the game and play like there’s nothing to lose, all pressure is on bama not KY.

  11. Southky
    3:57 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    Uhhhhh…….just no.

  12. BigBlueFoo42777
    4:21 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    Maybe if we punt on 1st down every time we get the ball our defense will score enough to cover the point spread.

  13. BigBluSoTru
    4:26 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    I take Freddies word on this people he knows what it takes to beat Bama. Stoops finally unleashed Gran last weekened the air raid was in full effect. I beleive this was by design to keep Saban on his heels now he doesn’t have time to scheme our potent air attack. Cats in close one. Plus they are playing for Coach S now they on a mission as Freddie stated emotions.

    • UKBigBlueForever
      4:32 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

      Lol. The only time I will laugh reading a comment the troll, BigBluBallz posts

  14. ukflyguy
    4:55 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    The only way UK has a prayer of staying with Alabama is to play the receivers that were in the game when Allen was playing. Drennen, Epps, and Cummings are legitimate downfield threats that will make the Alabama safeties back off the line of scrimmage. If we play the receivers they’ve played all year (Dailey, Harris) Alabama will pack the box with 8 or 9 guys and we won’t get a first down and lose by 50.

    • Bluehender
      7:00 am November 18, 2020 Permalink

      Good point. Definitely some truth there

  15. UKFanSC
    5:36 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    If we cover it will be a miracle

  16. wildcatdon
    6:34 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    BigbluSoTru, how many bourbons had you consumed when u posted that drivel above? Gracious.

  17. CahillsCrossingNT
    7:29 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    Sadly, there isn’t a way on the field. Perhaps Kentucky should forfeit because of the virus.

  18. Dr. Tom
    8:09 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    Would love to know the names on that sheet of paper in Mitch’s desk drawer of Stoop’s potential replacement!!

    • wyatts1
      10:10 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

      Easy for MOST of us to be down on uk for its play so far this season, and comment section proves it. However, even if uk doesn’t win this weekend, we can still make a strong showing, making this a statement
      game. Proving what the media had to say before the start of the season wasnt a total wash. Play with heart, some pride, to our strengths run the football like we know we can. Hit most of those occasional passes needed to keep the box from being totally loaded most the game. Have another great special teams type day. Finally, our defense is gonna need to play to their full potential and capabilites. But again, im not saying will win, but we can still regain some pride or MOJO that we’ve lost up to this point in the system. GOBIGBLUE

  19. UKInsider
    9:28 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    Oh, there was an article?

    I thought Freddie would say:

    1) Pray
    2) Send an infected Covid patient into the ‘Bama hotel the locker room

  20. IndianaSucks
    1:16 am November 18, 2020 Permalink

    Gotta stay positive but yeah this ain’t happening. 4 touchdowns at minimum.

  21. Eddiemcwildcat
    8:32 am November 18, 2020 Permalink

    Ummm…they dont

  22. CJKAssassin123
    12:41 pm November 18, 2020 Permalink

    People disregard this article it’s a pipe Dream. 34-17 Bama Saban is going to take it easy on UK to keep his team health and fresh as possible for the Iron Bowl. I think the D will respond enough to keep the margin under +30 expect UK to Cover and lose a game that they will put up a decent fight but still lose by 17-20 points.