Down 16 players due to injury and COVID-19 tracing, Kentucky Wildcats had a long day in Tuscaloosa as they fell 63-3 to the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide
Here’s a recap of all the action:
Nick Saban and Alabama won the opening toss and elected to defer and put Kentucky’s offense on the field first. UK picked up a first down on their first play from scrimmage as A.J. Rose picked up 12 yards on a first down run. That would be the lone first down of the drive as Terry Wilson had trouble with a Drake Jackson snap on third down ending the drive. With Ray Guy Award-winning punter Max Duffy out, Colin Goodfellow punted 43 yards to the Alabama 29-yard line, but Slade Bolden returned it 16-yards to the Bama 45-yard line.
Set up in excellent field position, Alabama wasted no time driving down the field as Mac Jones connected with tight end Jahleel Billingsley for 34-yards and two plays later hit DeVonta Smith for 16-yards to the UK four-yard line. After two UK stops, the Tide rolled into the end zone as Najee Harris scored from a yard out to give Alabama a quick 7-0 lead.
Looking to punch back, Kentucky’s ensuing possession got off to a hot start as Wilson hit Keaton Upshaw for 12-yards and on the next play, Kavosiey Smoke picked up eight on the ground. Two plays later, Kentucky moved into the red zone as Wilson completed a shovel pass to Josh Ali for 33-yards to the Alabama 17-yard line. The Wildcat drive would stall there, however, as they settled for a 33-yard Matt Ruffolo field goal to cut the Crimson Tide lead to 7-3.
Alabama’s next drive began with a quick chunk play as Jones hit Harris for 24-yards to their own 49-yard line. That would be all Kentucky’s defense would allow, however, as J.J. Weaver hit Harris for a two-yard loss on second down and Jordan Wright knocked down and nearly intercepted Jones’ third-down pass to force a punt.
After Charlie Scott‘s punt went through the back of the end zone for a touchback, UK started their next drive at their own 20-yard line. There, UK quickly moved across the 40-yard line as Wilson ran for seven yards to start the drive, followed by a 14-yard Rose run on the next play. Kentucky would soon move into Alabama territory as Bama’s Josh Jobe was called for pass interference against UK’s DeMarcus Harris, which was followed by a 17-yard Wilson pass to Upshaw to end the quarter with Kentucky at the Crimson Tide 20-yard line.
Score After First Quarter: Alabama 7, Kentucky, 3
Kentucky moved inside the Alabama 10-yard line two plays into the second quarter as Wilson hit Ali for five yards and Rose ran for seven on the next play to the eight-yard line. From there, the Crimson Tide defense stiffened up and on fourth down the drive ended in disaster for the Wildcats as Cade DeGraw‘s field goal snapped sailed over the holder Goodfellow for a 32-yard loss and turnover on downs.
Set up at their own 42-yard line, Alabama quickly moved into Kentucky territory as Jones hit Billingsley for 27-yards. After a roughing the passer penalty on Phil Hoskins, the Tide cashed in as Jones hit Smith for a 10-yard touchdown strike to extend the Alabama lead to 14-3.
After a 31-yard kick return by Zach Johnson, UK started their ensuing possession at their own 34-yard line. Kentucky would gain move into Alabama territory as Wilson connected with Isaiah Epps for 21-yards to the Alabama 41-yard line. Facing a third and 10 three plays later, Wilson kept the drive alive as he found Upshaw for 14-yards to the Alabama 27-yard line. The drive would stall at the 25-yard line, where the Cats would again come away empty-handed as Ruffolo missed a 42-yard field goal attempt wide right.
Looking to take advantage of yet another UK mistake, Jones hit Smith for 18-yards on the second play of the drive to move to the Bama 44-yard line. They’d move into Kentucky territory two plays later as Harris ran for 14-yards and then on the next play found the end zone as he escaped for a 42-yard touchdown run to give Bama a 21-3 lead.
After a quick Kentucky three-and-out, Alabama regained possession looking to tack onto their lead before halftime. Jones quickly led Bama across midfield with a 16-yard completion to Billingsley moving the Tide to the Cats’ 38-yard line. A few plays later, Alabama would hit pay dirt as Jones tossed an 18-yard touchdown pass to John Metchie for a touchdown to push the lead to 28-3 with 46 seconds left in the half.
With less than a minute in the half, UK simply ran the clock out as they entered the halftime locker room down 25 points.
Halftime Score: Alabama 28, Kentucky, 3
Alabama opened the second half on offense, where on the first play from scrimmage, Kentucky’s Jamar “Boogie” Watson made a six-yard tackle for loss, putting Bama behind the chains. That wouldn’t last long, however, as two plays later, Jones hit Smith for 18-yards to the Alabama 46-yard line. After a pass interference penalty against Yusuf Corker, Jones decided to take a shot at the end zone but was picked off by Kelvin Joseph, giving Kentucky possession.
Kentucky opened their first drive of the second half at their own 22-yard line after a 21-yard return by Joseph after his interception. They’d open the drive with a 20-yard Rose run, but that would be all as four plays later, UK would be forced to punt.
After the punt, UK’s defense would force an Alabama three-and-out. Kentucky’s ensuing possession would be a one-play disaster as Wilson threw a 45-yard pick-six to Crimson Tide defensive back Jordan Battle putting Alabama in-front 35-3.
Down 35-3, Mark Stoops opted to go with Joey Gatewood at quarterback on Kentucky’s ensuing possession. The change wouldn’t amount to any production as the Cats went three-and-out punting back to Alabama.
Alabama’s next drive would start at the UK 29-yard line after Smith returned Goodfellow’s punt 41-yards. From there, UK would move into the red zone where running back, Brian Robinson Jr. would find the end zone with a one-yard touchdown run to extend the Bama lead to 42-3.
On their next drive, Kentucky would again go three-and-out with a six-yard Rose run being their only yardage of the possession.
Up 39 points, Alabama plugged in backup Bryce Young at quarterback. On his first play, he hit Smith downfield for 36-yards and picked up 15 additional yards after Weaver was called for roughing the passer. They’d promptly drive into the red zone where Young would find Smith for an 18-yard touchdown pass to push the Bama lead to 49-3.
Down 46, Stoops turned to freshman Beau Allen at quarterback. The drive would go nowhere as Allen was sacked twice on his first drive, including on the last play of the third quarter.
Score After Third Quarter: Alabama 49, Kentucky, 3
After another Goodfellow punt, Alabama again drove down the field where 10 plays into the drive, Roydell Williams scored a two-yard touchdown to extend the Crimson Tide lead to 56-3.
After another Kentucky three-and-out, Alabama regained possession with 8:19 to play. They would successfully chew clock running the ball with Jase McClellan and Williams and with 1:35 to play found the end zone as McClellan scored from 19-yards out to give Alabama a 63-3 lead.
On their final drive, Gatewood took over under center, but UK opted to simply run the ball and the clock out as Alabama finished off their blowout victory.
Final Score: Alabama 63, Kentucky, 3
MVP: Devonta Smith
Kentucky’s secondary had no answer for Alabama wide receiver Devonta Smith who made nine catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown grab set an SEC record with 32 career touchdown receptions.
HONORABLE MENTION: Mac Jones
Former UK commit Mac Jones threw all over UK’s defense as he completed 16-24 passes for 230 yards and two scores.