Kentucky mistakes lead to 63-3 Alabama rout

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones picked apart the UK defense in Saturday's 63-3 win. (SEC Photo)

Earlier this week Kentucky coach Mark Stoops was asked about what playing a perfect game meant. The UK coach said he didn’t remember ever talking about a perfect game and that it was impossible to do that. Well, Kentucky was far from perfect in Saturday’s 63-3 loss at No. 1 Alabama Saturday in what was the worst loss in the Stoops’ era. Previously it was a 42-point beating (59-17) by Georgia in 2013 when Stoops was trying to rebuild the UK program.

Kentucky did have 10 players, including leader rusher Chris Rodriguez and leading tackler Jamin Davis, and assistant coach Darin Hinshaw out due to COVID-19 and injuries but the Cats helped Alabama way too much in this game where it was a 31-point underdog.

“You can’t do that against good teams,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said about the numerous mistakes. “We had an opportunity to make it at least 7-6 and instead snapped it (bad) and gave up 40 yards. That is a big momentum killer for your team. You can’t make those mistakes.”

How many mistakes did Kentucky make early? Here are some of them:

—The Cats were inside the 10-yard line trailing 7-0 when Landon Young was called for holding on a play that went to the 1-yard line. Kentucky had to settle for a field goal.

— Kentucky was back inside the 10-yard line when a third-down quarterback draw by Terry Wilson — Stoops said there were both run and pass plays called — gained nothing and on the field goal try a high snap resulted in a 36-yard loss and no points for the Cats.

— Still down only 7-3, Kentucky had two defenders knock an interception away from each other but it didn’t matter because defensive tackle Phil Hoskins was called for hands to the face of Bama quarterback Mac Jones. Two plays later Jones fired a TD bullet for a 14-3 lead with 10:12 to go in the first half.

— Down 14-3 the Cats stalled at the 25-yard line but a wobbly snap on the 42-yard field goal try may have contributed to Matt Ruffolo missing wide right.

Alabama had a 14-3 lead even though UK had outgunned the Tide 140-123 in total yards and the Cats already had three pass plays of 17 or more yards — which for this UK passing attack is as explosive as it can get.

Then came another mistake when UK got caught out of position on defense — it even got called for having 12 men on the field — when Alabama’s Najee Harris went 42 yards for a touchdown to push the lead to 21-3.

That’s when you knew enough was enough and Kentucky’s chance for a miraculous upset had zero chance of happening as Alabama won its 96th straight game against an unranked opponent.

Alabama pushed the lead to 28-3 by halftime and was averaging almost 11 yards per game. The Kentucky defense did not have a quarterback hurry or quarterback sack and made just one tackle for loss as Bama gained 264 yards. Jones was 13 of 16 passing for 202 yards and two scores. Alabama finished with 509 total yards and Jones, a one-time UK commit, threw for 230 yards before sitting out the fourth quarter.

Kentucky used Wilson and backups Joey Gatewood and Beau Allen in the second half. It didn’t matter. The three were a combined 0-for-9 passing with a Pick Six by Wilson.

“It was not the greatest of situations to put either of those guys into it. We know that,” Stoops said. “They had all the momentum and could play very aggressive. It was a tough spot for both of those quarterbacks.”

Kentucky had 27 yards total and just one first down in the second half and for the second time in the last four games did not score a touchdown. In losses to Georgia, Missouri and Alabama, Kentucky has now scored 16 points total and given up 97.

“We have to be better at throwing the football. We know that. I understand that and we are working hard to improve that.” Stoops said. “We got into the red zone but we couldn’t convert that into points. We have got to get into the end zone. Missing field goals did not help, either.”

8 thoughts on “Kentucky mistakes lead to 63-3 Alabama rout

  1. Paul

    Coach Stoops is highly paid. His golf buddy is the OC. Looks like we need a young “new age” ( pass game genius ) OC. Soooo, what do you do ? Fire your buddy or jeopardize a $5M a year paycheck ?

  2. Ron

    The word I would use to describe this team is "disjointed." There are moments when things click, plays are executed and you begin to think, "There, that’s the team I was expecting to see." Then offense, defense, special teams or some combination thereof fails to show up or does stupid stuff, and we walk away shaking our heads once again. Will they play better next week? Maybe. Maybe not. More than likely it seems we can expect one or another facet of this team to mess up and drag the rest down with it.

  3. LarryPup

    You can’t go into Tuscaloosa with half your team’s play maker’s back in Lexington sick or injured and expect to do anything but get crushed on the football field. As for Stoops and UK, Stoops can recruit pretty well, but has no clue after that if you want my opinion. As for Alabama, including Mac Jones, and Nick Saban, they can kiss my A$$. This type of a blood bath for UK at the hands of Alabama, and other elite SEC teams, will never change until UK can recruit, and then coach up equal or better talent. I can’t fault Gran’s game plan tonight, he just didn’t have the play makers available. It is that simple. Rodriquez is more than half their offense for starters.

  4. Larry Vaught Post author

    Just a brutal game. I truly thought UK was past those disasters no matter what but I was obviously wrong

  5. OldFan

    Did you notice early in the game Jones had 2 more completions than Wilson, but had over 100 yards more. That is the difference in moving the ball down the field with the pass and just passing to pick up a few yards at a time.
    This team came out and played like they were just wanting to keep it close, but ended up looking like they were unprepared. They were completely destroyed on both offense and defense.
    Did you hear Stoops in the pregame where I thought he took a jab at Mac Jones?
    He said Jones was playing at a high level, but all he had to do was get the ball close to the receivers because they were such great athletes. I think he failed to watch Jones and how good he is at hitting receivers in full stride (something Gran must think is illegal), and how good he is at knowing where the receivers are going, and when to release the ball. This kid is really good and yes, he does have good receivers, but timing and leading the player are all on the QB.

  6. Keith

    Larry, you could have pulled out one of your articles from the Bill Curry era, dusted it off and changed the names and submitted it for this game. Only bright spot is the UK guys didn’t quit on defense, they were gassed in the 2nd half and out of position a lot but they didn’t quit. It looked to me like there is dissension on the offense and some of them quit. Just my observation

    • OldFan

      Keith, I think Gran is the reincarnation of Elliot Uzelac. Has no imagination and no idea how to teach a passing game.


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