This was always going to be a tall task that was made even more difficult thanks to many players being out of the lineup due to what appear to be COVID-19 implications. However, Kentucky came out with some fight and was very much in the game with Alabama in the first 25 minutes. However, the train got off the tracks very fast.
Kentucky suffered the worst loss of the Mark Stoops era and for the second time this season they failed to score a touchdown. The offense is in a really bad spot right now and the flood gates finally opened for the defense. It’s been a tough year and the 60 minutes at Bryant-Denny Stadium were frustrating for many.
To no one’s surprise, Kentucky did not win many individual plays in this embarrassing loss, but there were some pivotal plays in the first half that went away from Kentucky and let the game get out of hand early. We will revisit those now.
1.) Missed Fade
After a very, very questionable holding call on Landon Young, the Wildcats found themselves behind the chains in the red zone. After a slant completion to Josh Ali on second down, the Wildcats faced a third-and-8 at the Alabama in 15 with a chance to even up the game early. They drew up a play to go to their best perimeter player on the money down.
Ali and Terry Wilson just cannot get the timing down on the slot fade and it has been an issue all season. The senior wide receiver wins the leverage battle, but unfortunately cannot find the football. The pass falls incomplete and UK is forced to settle for three.
2.) Interception Dropped
On Alabama’s second possession, a non-sack tackle for loss by J.J. Weaver helped force the Tide into a third-and-long with a great chance for the Wildcats to get a big stop. What happened next could’ve been a big swing play that would have given the road team some first half momentum.
After initially starting a pass rush, Jordan Wright reads the quarterback’s eyes and drops. This leads him directly to the football and the outside linebacker gets two hands on the rock. He is unable to reel in the interception and that’s a shame. Wright had quite the lane down the right sideline and could’ve set UK’s offense up with a very short field. Missed opportunity in a game where it was going to be imperative to create multiple takeaways.
3.) Interesting Call
Facing a third-and-goal at the seven, UK calls timeout trailing 7-3 with just under 13 minutes remaining in the second quarter. After missing out on a touchdown on their first red zone trip, it felt like this could be four-down territory and the third down play-call backed that up.
The lane seemed to be there with UK catching the Alabama front in a twist stunt. Both Drake Jackson and Landon Young have the backside sealed while Kavosiey Smoke and Darian Kinnard appear to have the Mike accounted for on either side. However, Christian Barmore wins the one-on-one against right guard Austin Dotson creating a crowded running lane. Wilson likely need to follow his tailback down the chute then bolt out left. Instead he runs into Barmore and it results in a negative play.
Another missed opportunity in the red zone where if UK executes correctly they may score or at least have a fourth-and-short in an automatic go for it situation.
Despite playing really well offensively in their first four possessions. UK had just three points on the board due to their inability to finish drives. It has been an issue all season for a team with an experienced quarterback and a very good offensive line. It feels like that should not be an issue this season. However, there have been all kinds of offensive issues for this program in 2020.
Unfortunately, for the first time all season, the defense was not there to bail the offense out tonight but that was expected going up against this offensive juggernaut Alabama has. The result was the worst loss of the Stoops era and now it’s back to the drawing board with two division games left to close out the season.