Tide rolls to convincing win over UK

Published 10:50 am Monday, November 13, 2023

By Keith Taylor

Kentucky Today

Alabama’s dominance over Kentucky continued on Saturday.

The Crimson Tide raced out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back, rolling to a 49-21 win over the Wildcats in their home finale. Kentucky (6-4, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) honored 25 seniors and super seniors prior to its fourth loss in the past five games.

However, it didn’t take long for the guests to set the tone for the blowout. The Crimson Tide (9-1, 7-0 Southeastern Conference) scored three touchdowns in the first 10 minutes that led to their eighth consecutive win over the Wildcats.

“That’s a very good football team,” Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops said. “We didn’t match up very well today. We didn’t get off to a very good start and didn’t get much better after that start. … very, very impressive win by them. … I expect them to make a deep run.”

Kentucky, which owns just two victories in the all-time series between the two teams, hasn’t defeated Alabama since a 40-34 overtime victory in 1997. The Crimson Tide has dominated since, and those games haven’t been close for more than two decades.

In addition, the defensive struggles against elite teams continued for Kentucky. The Wildcats have surrendered 100 total points in losses to top-ranked Georgia and Alabama this season. The Bulldogs and Crimson Tide will likely play for the SEC Championship next month.

“I think the ability to get up (for top teams) is one thing (and) I think the ability to compete with some of the Top 10 teams (is another) … the fight is there. I don’t I don’t ever question that. I mean, execution and playing better is a different story. I don’t question our team’s fight, their desire to win. You’ve got to compete at a different level. You have to execute and be more precise when you’re playing teams like that.”

Despite the blowout, the Wildcats produced a touchdown off an Alabama turnover, the first scored against the Crimson Tide in three games. In the previous two encounters in 2020 and 2016, Alabama outscored the Wildcats 97-9.

Devin Leary threw for 158 yards and two touchdowns to pace Kentucky’s offense, but it wasn’t enough to overshadow Alabama’s impressive start.

Behind Leary, Kentucky opened the second half with a 75-yard scoring drive, capped by a 2-yard run by Ray Davis.

Alabama got a big outing from its signal-caller Jalen Milroe, who threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for two scores to open the Crimson Tide’s scoring in the second half.

Stoops and the Wildcats had no answer for Milroe and the Crimson Tide offense, which collected 450 yards in the easy victory.

“We tried a little bit of everything and, to their credit, they made plays,” Stoops said. “They protected when they needed to (and Milroe) does a phenomenal job of buying time in the pocket and hurting you. He’s such a threat to run it. He bought the time and had the receivers downfield.”

Kentucky will conclude the SEC schedule next Saturday at South Carolina. The Gamecocks defeated Vanderbilt 47-6 Saturday.