Alabama throttled the Cats 63-3 on Saturday in Tuscaloosa. Nick Saban’s top ranked team proved why the Crimson Tide is the nation’s best football program by dominating the Wildcats in every phase of the game. This may be painful, but let’s take a look:
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Shorten the game. No. UK got off to an efficient offensive start in the first quarter but settled for just three points. Time of Possession for this game was deceiving and meaningless as Alabama rolled up 63-points, 509-total yards and 29 first downs. The Tide was equally as dominant on defense holding the Wildcats to 179-total yards and 12 first downs. Kentucky did not establish the run after averaging 1.8-yards per carry. This number was influenced by the 36-yard loss on the failed field goal snap. However, AJ Rose’s 10 carries for 68-yards was one of the senior’s best performances.
The passing game continued to be a struggle. Three Wildcat quarterbacks combined to complete 10 passes out of 25 attempts for 120-yards and one interception. Terry Wilson was the only signal caller that completed a pass (10/19). Beau Allen finished 0/2 and Joey Gatewood was 0/4. TE Keaton Upshaw recorded 3 catches for 44-yards and played for most of the game due to the absence of Justin Rigg.
Stay on schedule. No. See above for 59, second half-total yards. Post-first quarter action brought on an onslaught of three and outs to go along with a Pick 6. First and second down plays were inefficient in the 3rd and 4th quarter. UK was 2/13 on third down.
Block number 32. Yes. Dylan Moses did not register a tackle.
Locate numbers 13 and 9 pre-snap. No. Strong safety Jordan Battle had a Pick-6 and nearly had a second but dropped the pass. True freshman “Star” Malachi Moore was disruptive and had 3 total tackles.
No turnovers. No. See above for Pick-6.
Prevent the homerun shot. No. WR DaVonte Smith had 6 catches for 144-yards and 2 touchdowns. Jahleel Billingsley averaged 26-yards per catch. John Metchie had one catch for an 18-yard touchdown.
Tackle number 22. Yes, and No. Early on, UK bottled Harris up. At one point, the All American had 6 carries for 5-yards. That loosened up in quarters two through four. He finished the night with 13 carries for 83-yards and 2 touchdowns. Harris also had 2 catches for 27-yards including a 24-yard reception.
Pressure Mac Jones. No. Kentucky had one QB sack and zero QB hurries. Jones completed 16 out of 24 passes for 230-yards and 2 touchdowns. He was intercepted by Kelvin Joseph who now leads the SEC with 4 picks.
Play assignment football. No. This applies to run and pass. Bama pass catchers were consistently running open and rush lanes were abundant. The Cats missed assignments led to Crimson Tide touchdowns. Alabama was 7/7 in the Red Zone and 6/9 on third down. Bama averaged 12-yards per pass attempt and 15.7-yards per completion. It ran the football 40 times compared to 26 pass attempts and averaged 7.7-yards per play.
Make field goals. Yes, and no. Matt Ruffolo hit a first quarter field goal to cut the Bama lead to 7-3. Then, two errant snaps led to a loss of 39-yards and a missed, first half field goal opportunity.
Goodfellow be good. Yes. Goodfellow averaged 48.3-yards per punt.
*Special teams were an issue on Saturday. As mentioned above, field goal snaps were in disarray and Bama averaged 17-yards per punt return.
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?
There cannot be very many positives taken from a 63-3 loss. The Cat’s loss to the Tide was predictable. But, the manner in which it was defeated was troubling. Kentucky was down players but so is every other team in college football. Losing the SEC’s third leading tackler, leader in yards per carry, and All American punter were impactful. However, the final score was never in doubt. Alabama completely dominated Kentucky in every aspect of the football game.
If there was a positive, it was the first quarter. Kentucky started the contest with an offensive plan that featured varied formations and personnel groups coupled with shifts and motions. It had success but failed to convert in the Red Zone due to a holding call and two botched field goal attempts. UK went away from that strategy later in the game and struggled mightily against a very good, but not great Alabama defense.
UK gained 121-total yards and was 5/6 in the passing game for 77 in the first quarter. It also outgained the Tide on the ground by 44-5 yards. The Wildcat defense held Bama to 79-total yards including just 5 on the ground. Alabama went on to score 56 more points and gain 430-yards while holding Kentucky to 59-yards and zero points.
For the most part, Heisman Trophy candidate Mac Jones was not pressured and picked the Cats apart. WR DaVonte Smith broke the SEC record for most receiving touchdowns and went for 144-yards. The Crimson Tide did what it wanted including a rushing touchdown in the game’s final two minutes to push the score to 63-3. Bama did not try to run up the score. It had 40 rushing attempts compared to 26 passes. The old adage is applicable here. “Don’t want us to score then stop us.” UK couldn’t stop Alabama.
Florida is next. QB Kyle Trask is another Heisman Trophy candidate and is surrounded by a plethora of pass catching weapons. UK has two more regular season games and needs to find solutions in the passing game and rediscover its defense.