TUSCALOOSA – Alabama came out sluggish in the first quarter but quickly picked up the pace on Kentucky, handing the Wildcats a decisive 34-6 loss at Bryan-Denny Stadium.
With a packed stadium and an eager homecoming crowd, Alabama came out of the gates slow, matching Kentucky’s rhythm of quick outs and field goals. Both squads found themselves skittish, as both quarterbacks took early hits, and only able to score on field goals.
The Wildcats drew first blood with a 45-yard field goal by Austin MacGinnis before the Tide answered at the end of the quarter with its own 44-yard field goal by Adam Griffith, tying the game at the end of the first.
The Tide found its groove later in the second quarter when Joshua Jacobs opened up on six rushes for 29 yards and the Tide’s first scoring touchdown, with Griffith finishing off the drive with the PAT. Alabama led Kentucky 10-3.
Jacobs had a career high 13 first-quarter carries, netting 86 yards and one touchdown. He rushed for 97 yards on 11 carries for two touchdowns against Kent State last week.
Kentucky came back out and began to make a run up the field but on their sixth possession of the drive, Wildcats QB Stephen Johnson was lit up by Alabama’s Rashaan Evens, causing a fumble that was scooped up by Ronnie Harrison, who took it 55 yards for the easy score. Griffith tacked on the PAT, giving Alabama a 17-3 lead.
This was the last bit of scoring in the first half, as Griffith missed a chip shot 35-yard field goal at the end of the quarter.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban said the team, “didn’t play very well, you know. I mean first series on defense we didn’t play very well, but after that I thought we played pretty well on defense. I think we’ve just been very, very sloppy and inconsistent.”
Saban continued, saying, “We have run the ball effectively, so we need to continue to do that. But we’ve got to do a better job of throwing the ball and create some explosive plays in the passing game.”
And that’s just what Alabama did coming out of the half, taking barely more than a minute to hit a quick score from Calvin Ridley and Jalen Hurts, putting the Tide in a comfortable 24-3 lead. Hurts and Ridley didn’t stop there as the duo connected for a 19-yard touchdown pass late in third quarter, putting Bama up 31-3.
The Tide continued to roll, tacking on another field goal in the fourth quarter. Kentucky wouldn’t give up and chewed up nearly nine minutes of clock before netting their own field goal, bringing the game to a 34-6 end.
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