Kentucky football blown out on Senior Day by No. 8 Alabama after disastrous first quarter

Alabama football continued its historic domination of Kentucky in commanding fashion Saturday, jumping out to a 21-0 lead in the first 10 minutes on the way to a 49-21 victory.

Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe completed 16 of 23 passes for 240 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He also gained 36 yards and scored three touchdowns on eight carries.

Alabama scored touchdowns on its first three possessions before Kentucky even gained its first first down. The Wildcats briefly gained some hope when freshman defensive back Nasir Addison recovered a muffed punt that led to the Wildcats’ first touchdown with 1:30 left in the first quarter, but Mark Stoops’ team was unable to pull any closer than 14 points for the rest of the game.

Kentucky’s last hope for making the game interesting ended when Alabama stopped the Wildcats on fourth-and-2 at the 9-yard line with 7:16 remaining in the second quarter. When Kentucky opened the second half with a touchdown, Alabama answered with a score of its own after converting a third-and-18 play earlier in the drive.

UK quarterback Devin Leary completed 17 of 31 passes for 158 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Running back Ray Davis gained just 26 yards on 12 carries, but he did score two touchdowns to bring his total to 16 for the season. Davis needs three more touchdowns to tie Benny Snell’s single-season UK record.

TURNING POINT

Kentucky’s fate might have been sealed on the opening drive when Milroe needed just one play to recuperate from an apparent injury. Milroe took a hard hit to his leg at the end of a 16-yard run that caused him to crumble to the turf in pain after initially trying to walk off the hit. Milroe was eventually able to jog off the field under his own power, but since play had stopped for Alabama trainers to attend to him he had to go to the sideline for one play. After a handoff from backup quarterback Ty Simpson, Milroe sprinted back onto the field. He completed passes on each of Alabama’s next four plays, capping the drive with a 26-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Amari Niblack.

MVP

Milroe completed his first seven passes of the game. He made Kentucky pay for defensive lapses, hitting wide open receivers for each of his first three touchdown passes. The early hit appeared to limit Milroe’s rushing opportunities, but even the threat of his explosive runs clearly had an effect on a Kentucky defense that left too many receivers wide open. He scored two touchdowns on quarterback sneaks from the 1-yard line.

KEY STAT

With the win, Alabama improved to 39-2-1 all-time against Kentucky. The Wildcats have beaten Alabama just once since the Great Depression. That win came in 1997 against an Alabama team that finished the year with a losing record. All four meetings between the two teams in the Mark Stoops era have been Alabama wins by at least 28 points.

Alabama’s Malik Benson (11) and Roydell Williams (5) celebrate Williams’ 26-yard touchdown reception against Kentucky during the second quarter at Kroger Field on Saturday. Silas Walker/swalker@herald-leader.com
Alabama’s Malik Benson (11) and Roydell Williams (5) celebrate Williams’ 26-yard touchdown reception against Kentucky during the second quarter at Kroger Field on Saturday. Silas Walker/swalker@herald-leader.com

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