Bama Had Niche In Upset Saturday
Alabama completed the primary Saturday goal of winning the game, defeating Kentucky by 48-7 in Lexington. Halfway through the season, that kept the Crimson Tide undefeated at 6-0, including a 3-0 record in Southeastern Conference play.
But Bama did not avoid entirely the "upset" moniker. There were times when Alabama Coach Nick Saban was obviously agitated.
For instance, there were penalties. Bama, which has been one of the nation's least penalized teams in recent years, tacked on seven for 65 yards in losses against the Wildcats in Lexington Saturday night. One of those -- a personal foul -- was important in the one touchdown drive for Kentucky.
There were also fumbles. The Tide lost two fumbles, both deep in Kentucky territory. Fortunately the two men guilty of the turnovers, tailbacks T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake, both managed to finish the night with a ratio of 2:1, touchdowns to fumbles.
Saban said, "We're just trying to do things the Bama way, and that's what we're trying to get our guys to do. Play physical, play with effort, and play with more toughness.
"We need to improve and try to dominate the competition.
"I think we did that, but I also thought we made a lot of mistakes. We turned the ball over, dropped some passes.
"If you want to be the best, you can't be satisfied with that, so there are some things we definitely need to improve on."
He said, "Everybody has to be accountable to do his role so we can be the best team we can be. I think we're a better team now than we were (before the game). We're making improvements, but I still think there are things we need to continue to work on."
He noted that mistakes stopped Alabama's first three drives. "We dropped some balls that would have been critical," he said. "We dropped a third down, wide open play. We drove into the Red Zone twice and fumbled it."
Saban found some good things, particularly the play of quarterback A.J. McCarron, who completed 21-35 passes for 359 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. "AJ had a really good game. He obviously does a good job of making decisions and choices with the ball."
Saban said despite mistakes, "we were still dominating the game. We were dominating the line of scrimmage.
"People say, 'What happened early in the game?' Well, nothing happened early in the game. We fumbled the ball; that's what happened. We moved it right down the field and then fumbled the ball.
"But I'm pleased with the way our skill guys are playing. I think they have a lot of confidence in AJ, and I think he has a lot of confidence in them."
Saban said, "We made a lot of plays. We made a lot of explosive plays. We have a pretty good group of receivers and we have a couple of pretty good running backs, so we want to involve as many of those players as we possibly can.
"I thought early in the game we didn't get the receivers involved like we needed to, but they certainly made some big plays in the second half."
Although not as dramatic as a week earlier when 15 different men caught passes, the Tide did distribute the ball to eight different receivers.
The Alabama defense held Kentucky to 13 first downs, 94 yards rushing, 7-18 passes for 76 yards.
Saban said, "We've had a lot of missing parts and we've had to move guys around a lot, but I think the players have done a good job adapting each week. I think we've started three or four different guys at corner. In the front seven, we've had a couple of guys get injured, so every guy on that side that has had to step up and play for us has done a really good job.
"I think C.J. Mosley has done a fantastic job of being a leader. That has really made a big difference in our development and how players work in practice."
He said the offensive line did a good job to help T.J. Yeldon (16 carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns) and Kenyan Drake (14 carries for 106 yards and two touchdowns). And, the coach added, "I thought both guys ran well. We haven't had a lot of turnovers this year and we haven't fumbled the ball a lot. That's something we really don't ever need to have happen. If our guys want to be the best, those are the kind of things they have to eliminate."
Saban concluded, "I still think we have a long way to go. It would be nice to get some continuity so we could get guys back to practicing the roles they are used to.
"I think our focus has to be on continuing to get better in the future."
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