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The Bad and Not-So-Bad from Kentucky’s 60-Point Loss at Alabama

Photo via SEC

Photo via SEC

Entering Saturday’s game at Bryant-Denny Stadium, we knew the Wildcats were faced with an almost impossible task. Down ten players, including Chris Rodriguez and Jamin Davis, keeping up with the top-ranked Crimson Tide was a big ask. Despite the circumstances, Kentucky played well enough to leave fans feeling deflated after a 63-3 loss, the largest margin of defeat since Steve Spurrier’s Florida Gators ran up a 65-0 victory in The Swamp in 1996.

The Wildcats actually out-gained Alabama for more than a quarter and controlled the clock. UK had three scoring opportunities that could have given them the lead, but only recorded three points in those drives, leaving the door open for Alabama to beat in the Wildcats’ brains.

Many questions will be asked in the coming days, like, “How do you lose a game by 60 points eight years into a coaching tenure?” and, “Is it even possible to bounce back from a loss like this?” Until we are forced to face the noise, let’s look at the parts of the night that were okay and the other times that were crimes against the game of football.

GOOD: Kentucky Moved the Ball in the First Quarter  

Kentucky’s first offensive play was a first down. Kentucky opened the second drive with a 13-yard reception to Keaton Upshaw, the first of three receptions by the tight end that went for more than ten yards. Josh Ali sprung a big gain on a pitch pass and the Wildcats actually had receivers running free, wide open down the field against Alabama. Kentucky’s offense was humming, out-gaining the Crimson Tide 121-79 in the first quarter.

BAD: Red Zone Mistakes

After punting the ball away to start the game, the Wildcats got the ball inside the 10-yard line on the next two possessions. A first and goal play from the two-yard line was taken away by a cheap holding penalty on Landon Young. The Wildcats were forced to settle for a field goal.

On the following possession, Alabama called a timeout to reevaluate its defense on third and goal from the Crimson Tide’s 7-yard line. Eddie Gran gave Terry Wilson the option to pass it or run. The coverage dictated the latter. Alabama collapsed on the quarterback draw, eliminating a chance for Kentucky to take the lead.

At least the Cats could cut the 7-3 deficit to one with a field goal, right? Wrong. Longsnapper Cade Degraw showed off his forearm muscles by launching a ball into outer space, a mistake similar to the one he made against Mississippi State that resulted in a safety.

All hope was not lost a possession later when UK got the ball inside the Alabama 30-yard line. When forced to settle for a field goal, another shaky snap and hold led to a missed 42-yard field goal. In three scoring opportunities Kentucky only scored three points. Woof.

GREAT: Another Bossman Fat Interception  

Despite trailing 28-7, Kentucky’s defense did not quit when they came out of the halftime locker room. Kelvin “Bossman Fat” Joseph showed us why he’s one of the best cornerbacks in the country by playing phenomenal coverage downfield to pick off a pass at the goal line, just the third Mac Jones interception of the season.

Tom Hart screamed, “You know the vibe!” as Bossman Fat sprinted down the field. He moves into a tie for the most interceptions in the country with four.

UK’s defensive success didn’t end there. They forced a three and out on the ensuing series, giving Kentucky a shred of hope, until…

UGLY: A Terry Wilson Pick Six

Every time Kentucky called slants, you could feel the agony in Jordan Rogers’ voice. The simple passing concept could be read from a mile away. When Terry Wilson stared down his target for the umpteenth time, the Crimson Tide finally took advantage.

Kentucky’s offense was infuriating. It was inventive in the first half with motions used to confuse the defense and free up open receivers. In the second half it was as bland as a stale vanilla wafer.

One would naturally expect Alabama’s talented defense to get better with time, especially after a long layover. What happened tonight was inexcusable. Kentucky went from out-gaining Alabama in the first 20 minutes to running only 20 second half plays for one single first down. The offensive inconsistency throughout this season is baffling.

HUH? The Penalties 

Would a few calls here and there made a significant difference in a 60-point loss? Maybe just a smidge.

An early review on a Kavosiey Smoke reception moved the ball back from the five to the Alabama 10-yard line, where a play later a questionable hold stalled Kentucky’s progress. DeMarcus Harris helped Kentucky get back into the red zone by drawing a pass interference penalty. The defender not only arrived early, he made helmet-to-helmet contact with Harris, dislodging his helmet. The concussed wide receiver did not return for the rest of the night. The same could not be said about the Alabama defender because targeting was not called. Oh, and this was not a facemask.

EMBARRASSING: 12 Can’t Stop Harris 

In addition to the missed calls, Kentucky was not its usually well-disciplined self. Kentucky committed seven penalties for 69 yards, many of which were of the silly pre-snap variety. In one instance Kentucky’s defense put 12 men on the field. Even with the extra player they could not stop running back Najee Harris from sprinting 42 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. You’ll see the stiff-arm near the end of the run during next year’s NFL Draft.

BRUH: You call that dancing? 

“This game’s gotta be almost over,” I thought to myself before I looked at the play clock and saw that there were still SEVEN MINUTES left in the third quarter. All three UK quarterbacks played multiple series and future Alabama star Bryce Young threw his first career touchdown pass. A game that slowed to a crawl as the blowout neared an end, one Alabama offensive lineman had to create his own form of entertainment.

CONFUSING: What to make of this loss 

This game was not on Kentucky’s schedule in the spring. Extraordinary circumstances led to a loss many wished they could forget.

The pandemic forced the SEC to rearrange opponents, giving UK a road trip with the top-ranked team in America. Less than ten days before the two were set to tango, the Wildcats’ lost a beloved member of their family, John Schlarman. Before they hopped on the plane to reach Tuscaloosa, positive COVID-19 tests sidelined stars.

Losing by 60 points is infuriating, but so is not seeing your family on Thanksgiving. This year has been a challenge for all. It’s not an excuse, it’s the reality in which we live. Some might see the devastating defeat as cracks in the foundation of the program Stoops built. Others are probably prepared to leave this game in the past and move on to the next one. Make of this loss what you will, the Wildcats’ season will not be defined by it.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

46 Comments for The Bad and Not-So-Bad from Kentucky’s 60-Point Loss at Alabama



  1. dhard
    9:39 pm November 21, 2020 Permalink

    What to make of the loss? Embarrassing. The coaching staff and the belief you can be competitive playing that style of football is laughable. The lack of immigration on offense is straight from the 50’s. The defensive scheme of rushing 4 and playing soft with 7 and hoping the offense makes a mistake is working so well that bama only scored 63. We have scored 1 td in 12 quarters outside of Vanderbilt. Now, someone, please convince us we don’t have a coaching issue.



    • TBW3011
      10:12 pm November 21, 2020 Permalink

      You’re spot on, but Mitch is great.



    • Pensacola_Cat_Fan
      9:38 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      We have a pretty good backup punter. We can only recruit running backs and punters.



    • ClutchCargo
      11:37 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      Agree. We need more immigrants to join the team and play on the offensive side of the ball. Let ’em in here, but put ’em to work.



  2. makeitstop
    9:42 pm November 21, 2020 Permalink

    Dumpster fire. Pick a QB not named Terry Wilson. Change play callers immediately. For God sake name a Special Teams Coordinator. Run off AJ Rose, he’s cost u one game and has a crap attitude. But someone has to answer for this embarrassment.



    • gwhittle
      1:31 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      They played two qbs not named Terry Wilson and they both failed to complete a single pass.



    • makeitstop
      7:17 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      Gw they played 2 guys who split reps in practice w the 2’s for a few series, pulling them in and out. Have u ever seen that work (apart from against us)? He clearly isn’t a top 12 SEC QB. There’s at least 2 guys who may be. Pick one. U know what won’t work is what ur doing.



  3. Brutal Hustler
    9:47 pm November 21, 2020 Permalink

    I think that today entirely fine and forgivable, given all that the team is going through and how stacked the deck was against us. We did compete at a respectable level for a little bit, had some dumb mistakes, and then just gave up. I don’t think everyone should be so “the sky is falling” just because of today.

    Don’t get me wrong, Eddie Gran keeping his job still needs to reevaluated at the end of the season



    • Bigcat Jack
      8:40 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      Bullcrap. Stoops & Company have a losing record at UK. They’ve lost 2/3 of every SEC game played. UK fans cannot continue to accept mediocrity. While we can congratulate him on winning some nice games during his time here, he has by no means turned UK into a perennial winner. Luckily we can always schedule 3-4 patsy games and luckily the SEC has been down a good bit in recent years within the middle tier teams (like SC, MSU, UT, Mizz, etc.)…but that is not going to last.



  4. BigBluSoTru
    10:02 pm November 21, 2020 Permalink

    Ever the optimist Mr.Ksr Roush no sugar caoting this turd whatsoever/ All the bs you and the other ksr writers have sold us is pure horse shit . tnos team is nowhere near ready to contend for the SEC championship. Marrow is a fraud funny you havent heard a word in public bragging from him since the Vols game.Walking around the sidelines with a headset doing nothing collecting a million dollars man he got a gig.



    • dcforuk
      10:19 pm November 21, 2020 Permalink

      At least you are finally pretending to be a man by not hiding behind your sarcasm!



  5. kentuckybackupplayer
    10:03 pm November 21, 2020 Permalink

    In the words of the great coach Bill Parcells, “You are what your record says your are”. Alabama is awesome and Kentucky is not very good at all.



  6. DoubleB65
    10:09 pm November 21, 2020 Permalink

    This loss will absolutely define the season. Not to mention the losses of games that should have been won (Ole Miss, Missouri and one could even argue Auburn).

    This season is defined by how good we were lead to believe this team would be and all the hype surrounding it in the preseason only to see it fall flat on its face.



    • blueballs80
      11:45 pm November 21, 2020 Permalink

      Our recruiting will take a dump after this dumpster fire of an offensive shit show. Team has regressed from last year and they are playing with no fire.



  7. TBW3011
    10:11 pm November 21, 2020 Permalink

    Disgraceful. You saw 100% today what is holding this program back. Physically they gel their own, but coaching is 1000 miles behind.



  8. dcforuk
    10:25 pm November 21, 2020 Permalink

    You have guts to title this headline and write this article. The Jawa bloggers from the Mandalorian will (and are) all over your words just like the real Jawas are all over scraps from real wreckage. That said, those three offensive possessions were killer in that we needed 13 of not 17 or 21 points out of them.



  9. Pensacola_Cat_Fan
    10:35 pm November 21, 2020 Permalink

    What is wrong with you??? Losing by 60 is never entirely fine and forgivable!!! You are everything that is wrong with UK football.



  10. Nickerbocker05
    10:48 pm November 21, 2020 Permalink

    Embarrassing



  11. Wade
    10:54 pm November 21, 2020 Permalink

    Don’t wanna hear it



  12. itsfootballtimeinthebluegrass
    11:11 pm November 21, 2020 Permalink

    If Stoops doesn’t change his offensively philosophy it will eventually cost him his job.



    • TBW3011
      11:54 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      It should, but won’t. He’s far closer to a raise and extension than losing his job as long as Mitch is AD



  13. kjd
    11:38 pm November 21, 2020 Permalink

    No, this game didn’t define this team. It confirmed what we already knew.



    • itsfootballtimeinthebluegrass
      12:07 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      lol gg



  14. Big Sexy
    12:11 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    This was touted as UKs most talented team in 40+ years and they lose to Alabama by 60. I know some players were missing but it wouldn’t have made much difference. We lose by 50 with them? This tells you we’re the problem lies. All this talent and still getting the $#|+ kicked out of them by the elite teams. Stoops is a great recruiter but not a very head coach. Gotta adapt eventually and learn how to throw the ball.



    • WKY Cat
      10:06 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      Stoops is not a great recruiter. Why does everyone think that? He’s averaged about 30th in the country in recruiting classes. And usually about 12th in the SEC.



    • Big Sexy
      2:02 pm November 22, 2020 Permalink

      You have to consider the level of talent he is bringing into KY! Maybe not great, but very good at least. He’s getting higher ranked recruits than we’ve ever had by far. He’s just not doing much with it. If he were then recruiting would get even better.



  15. gwhittle
    1:26 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    A “cheap holding call?” it was an obvious hold. Just a dumb penalty at a bad time. The refs were bad, but I disagree with the implication that they cost the cats a td on that drive. It was self-inflicted



  16. jakew60
    3:25 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    This is just not acceptable by any means tbh, other schools that seem to care about the success of their programs are quick to move if they see something not progressing why are we accepting mediocrity? If stoops can’t progress the program further we need to move on but we can’t keep in the same place or be worse, if he needs better coordinators than get him better ones! We need something to change for the better



  17. Jimi40
    6:20 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    Hey, look on the bright side. We dont have to worry about losing Stoops to another team for awhile…lol.



  18. dhard
    7:12 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    This just in; another TD has been found uncounted for Alabama masking the final score 70-3. Ky coaches working on plan to get 10 points per game



  19. bbn606
    7:37 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    Without even considering this game, this season has been a complete failure with the exception of the Tennessee game. This team was Stoops’ deepest and most experienced team to date and they have underperformed all season. I’m thinking Stoops has taken UK as far as he can take them with his philosophy. You can beat the average teams but can’t compete with the great teams with this mindset.



    • Bluehender
      11:02 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      No question the highlight of the season was beating Tennessee….and that’s about it.



  20. UKFanSC
    7:46 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    Kentucky football has been, is, and likely always will be an exercise in frustration and disappointment. But no team with any heart at all should lose by 60.



  21. Bigcat Jack
    7:53 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    This is the beginning of the end for the Mark Stoops era at UK. A mutual separation may be the best thing for both parties. He has plateaued at Kentucky and on the slow downward spiral to the SEC cellar again.



    • WKY Cat
      10:09 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      I’ve been saying this for a while and get laughed off the boards. Even got laughed at on a separate article discussing this blow out. People just aren’t willing to see reality. I call the blue glasses people. They see everything through blue glasses and won’t believe anything bad about UK sports.



  22. Duff86
    8:08 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    We have 0 star power on the offensive side of the ball. Period. One star, that’s all it takes in college football. Even with a shit offensive coordinator one star can make them look decent. Alabama has 5-6 superstars on their offense. Not shocked at all by this score line. It’s time for Eddie to move on and for Mitch to get out the check book.



    • kjd
      8:28 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      I think it’s time for Coach Gran to be given full control of the offense without Coach Stoops meddling, and pushing this ancient time of possession offense. We also need better offensive recruits.



    • Bluehender
      11:03 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      Bingo kjd…



  23. just a guy
    8:26 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    I get everyone is pissed at gran… but… gran had a very high scoring offense in Cincy, we had Neal brown here and even a terrible Shannon Dawson came from air raid programs. It is Stoops that wants this ground and pound play. It’s destroyed us recruiting QBs and WRs, we’re now excited to get JUCOs and QBs that couldn’t cut it at other schools, and no WR wants to come here and block downfield every play.
    Don’t forget Stoops interviewed Lincoln Riley for OC in 2014 and chose Dawson.
    Y’all kiss stoops butt all you want, our offense is exactly how Stoops wants to play.



    • Bigcat Jack
      8:48 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      Agree 100%. We need to hope some truly desperate blue blood comes calling for him after the season (like Penn St or Michigan), but of course that ain’t happening. MItch will ultimately end up firing him around 2023 because fat boy ain’t leaving while he’s making 5 mil a year. No other school in their right mind keeps a coach with a losing record and whose lost 2/3 of every conference game they’ve played and while also giving away that kind of cash …. except UK.



    • Bluehender
      11:06 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      just a guy…you’re right.



  24. kyle heavy
    8:35 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    Nothing good happened yesterday. The fact that you wrote this is embarrassing.



    • Danny McCoy
      11:27 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      Gotta get those clicks….



  25. jaws2
    12:09 pm November 22, 2020 Permalink

    I remember being down 40 once in a game and I was playing linebacker. All I wanted to do was keep hitting people harder because I didn’t want to embarrass myself or my parents. We used to call it pride. Players on this team quit yesterday. Period.



  26. blueballs80
    1:22 pm November 22, 2020 Permalink

    Somewhere Shannon Dawson is laughing real hard. I think Gran is also the issue. Haven’t seen Gatewood attempt to throw a pass beyond 10 yards and he doesn’t look confident under center yet.



  27. catsby.5
    5:23 pm November 22, 2020 Permalink

    The headline of this article should have read “The Bad From Kentucky’s 60 point Loss” and could have been written in one word. Everything.