It’s early in the season, particularly regarding Southeastern Conference play. Alabama will be playing only its second SEC game and Kentucky its third when the Crimson Tide hosts the Wildcats for Homecoming Saturday. Kickoff will be at 6 p.m. CDT with ESPN televising the game.
Alabama, ranked first in the nation, is 4-0 overall and 1-0 in SEC games, Kentucky 2-2 and 1-1 in the conference.
Statistics may mean more later in the year, but here is a comparison a third of the way through regular season play.
Since there is a scoreboard in every SEC stadium, the first look is at scoring and scoring defense. Alabama leads the conference in scoring at 46.5 points per game and the Tide is second in scoring defense, allowing 14.8. Kentucky is averaging 30.2 points per game, eighth in the SEC, and the Wildcats allow 35.2, which is last in the league.
Bama is second in the SEC in rushing at 246.2 yards per game and first in rushing defense, allowing 67.5 yards per game. The Cats are tied for fifth in the league rushing for 196.8 yards per game and 13th in rushing defense, giving up 205 per contest.
In passing offense, the Tide is sixth with 237.2 yards per game and fifth in pass defense with 212.8 yards per game allowed. Kentucky is 10th in passing offense, 203.5 yards per game, and 12th in passing defense, 258 per game. Kentucky is fourth and Alabama fifth in passing efficiency, Bama fourth and the Cats 14th in pass defense efficiency.
Alabama is third in total offense, 483.5 yards per game, and second in total defense, giving up 280.2 yards per contest. The Wildcats are 10th in total offense, 400.2, and last in total defense, 463 yards given up per outing.
In third down conversions, Bama is fourth, 28-62 for 45.2 per cent, and Kentucky 11th, 16-44 for 36.4 per cent. On defense, the Tide is best in the league in allowing 16-62 for 25.8 per cent and Kentucky is last in the conference allowing 33-65 for 50.8 per cent.
In turnover margin, the Tide is tied for fifth at plus 2 (3 fumble recoveries and 3 interceptions while giving up 3 fumbles and 1 interception) and the Cats are last at minus 6 (6 interceptions against 6 fumbles loss and 6 passes intercepted).
In the Red Zone (inside the 20), Alabama’s offense is tied for first, 18-18 with 13 touchdowns and 5 field goals, and Kentucky is fourth at 11-13 with 10 TDs and 1 FG. On defense, Bama is fifth at 5-7, giving up 1 touchdown and 4 field goals, and Kentucky is 11th at 15-17, allowing 12 TDs and 3 FGs.
Alabama is tied for third in sacks with 13, and is tied for seventh in sacks allowed with 8. Kentucky is tied for ninth in sacks with 8 and is 14th in being sacked, 13.
In limited action, recently-departed Alabama quarterback Blake Barnett leads the SEC in passing efficiency (Jalen Hurts is 10th). Kentucky’s Stephens Johnson is second in passing efficiency – which, presumably, makes him first following Barnett’s departure.