The Kentucky Wildcats went on the road last week and picked up a much-needed win against Mississippi State.
On Saturday, they had arguably their toughest road matchup of the season as the Alabama Crimson Tide came into Kroger Field.
It was not an ideal start for the Cats as the Tide took their first possession right down the field and found the end zone to take an early 7-0 lead.
That was followed by a three-and-out for Kentucky’s offense and another quick strike by the Tide to make it 14-0.
That was followed by a fumble by Barion Brown, and one play later, it was 21-0 Alabama before Kentucky had picked up a first down, and the route was on.
Kentucky finally caught a break as Alabama fumbled the punt, and the Cats were able to take advantage as Devin Leary connected with Tayvion Robinson for the touchdown to make it 21-7.
Alabama answered back early in the second quarter with another touchdown drive to push the lead back to three scores at 28-7.
The Tide gave Kentucky opportunities to climb their way back into the game in the second quarter, but the Cats were not able to take advantage of it as the deficit was still 28-7 at halftime.
Kentucky came out of halftime strong and found the end zone to make it a 28-14 game.
Unfortunately, the defense could not step up and give the offense the ball back with a chance to make it a one-score game as Bama found the end zone to make it 35-14.
On their next possession, Alabama marched right down the field to make it 42-14, and this one was all but over.
Kentucky was completely unprepared and outmatched for this matchup against Alabama as the Tide rolled to a 49-21 victory.
Here are four things to know from Saturday’s loss.
Kentucky can’t overcome early punch from Alabama
Another big game in Kroger Field with a chance to make a big statement, and another game that the team did not look prepared for the matchup.
Alabama came out of the gate strong, marching right down the field on their first two drives, followed by a Kentucky turnover resulting in a third touchdown.
From that moment, the Cats settled down but could not overcome spotting the No. 8 team in the country 21 points.
In order to beat a team like Alabama, you have to play an A+ game, and that is not close to how Kentucky played on Saturday.
More defensive struggles against top competition
Brad White has been a very good defensive coordinator during his time at Kentucky, but a consistent theme has been lackluster performances against top competition.
This defense has not been able to stop any offense with a pulse all season, and that was the case again on Saturday as Alabama’s offense was able to do whatever they wanted to against the Cats’ defense.
Jalen Milroe started the game 7/7 for 108 yards and three total touchdowns. He was able to get whatever he wanted right from the start.
For the game, Milroe accounted for six total touchdowns as the Alabama offense racked up 450 yards of offense.
Something is going to have to change on the defensive side of the ball.
Offense regressed after two positive weeks
Kentucky’s offense looked much improved in the last two games against Tennessee and Mississippi State.
Unfortunately, that improvement regressed with the Tide in town, as the receivers were not making plays, the offensive line was not holding up, and Leary was not making the throws we saw the last two games.
Kentucky had just 176 yards and was held to just 18 rushing yards for the game before a late 73-yard rush by Ramon Jefferson with the game already in hand for the Tide and the starters on the sidelines.
Ray Davis struggles against Bama defense
Davis has been the one bright spot nearly all season for the Cats’ offense, but Saturday was not a good outing for Davis.
Kentucky going down 21-0 before picking up a single first down made it difficult for the Cats to just hand the ball off a ton as they needed to get quick points to climb back into the game.
However, in the opportunities that Davis did get, he was not very effective.
In the first half, Davis carried the ball just nine times for 23 yards and averaged just 2.3 yards per carry.
He did find the end zone early in the third quarter and late in the fourth but finished the game with just 26 rushing yards (2.3 per carry).
If Kentucky is going to finish the season strong, they will need Davis to get back to the level of play that we have seen most of the season.
On to South Carolina.