By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky did what no one expected — it got a lead on No. 1 Alabama. Sure, it was only 3-0 in the first quarter, but it was a lead.
It was kind downhill after that Saturday night for the Wildcats as Alabama rolled to a 34-6 loss. The Tide had 488 total yards to just 161 for Kentucky.
Kentucky tried to run, but just couldn’t. Still, credit Kentucky for trying to do the things it could not and if not for a Stephen Johnson fumble that was returned for a touchdown, the Cats would still have been in the game at halftime. But that built the lead to 17-3. Of course, that was Alabama being Alabama. That is seven straight games where the Tide has scored a touchdown either on defense or special teams. That’s how you win games.
Maybe the one strategy that could be second guessed was not playing freshman running back Benny Snell more. He got just two touches the first half and after the game coach Mark Stoops said too many three-and-out on offense kept Snell out of the game. Maybe if Snell had played, there would not have been as many three-and-outs. Just saying …
Still, the defense made some plays and was a lot better than early in the season and the offense should not face a defense anywhere near as good the rest of the season.
“Cats battled but not enough on the road vs No 1. Keep working and battling,” former UK coach Rich Brooks posted on Twitter after the game.
“Happy with that outcome. Not great by any means but not embarrassed either. Could be a new Cats team. Will find out this week,” former UK quarterback Jared Lorenzen tweeted.
He’s right. Kentucky is 2-3 but next week hosts Vanderbilt and then has a bye week. Beat Vandy and the Cats are 3-3 with a week off before hosting Mississippi State. Win that game and suddenly the complexion of the whole season changes.
Kentucky apparently came out of the game with no significant injuries and really no bruised egos. For a game at Alabama, that’s about the best UK could have realistically hoped for.