USA Today/Marvin Gentry

Alabama Crimson Tide shut down Kentucky Wildcats' offense in 34-6 victory

Alabama showed why nobody does defense better.

The No. 1 Crimson Tide held Kentucky to only 161 yards of total offense and two Austin MacGinnis field goals bookending the first and fourth quarters Saturday en route to a 34-6 victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Alabama (5-0, 2-0 SEC) extended its FBS-long winning streak to 17 games. Kentucky dropped to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in SEC play. 

The overall performance was better than the Cats' poor showing at Florida earlier this season, but still not where UK head coach Mark Stoops expects his team to be in Year 4.

"I told our guys were grew in some areas, but there are so many things we need to do better," Stoops said. "... We got a bunch of older guys floppin' around and missing tackles. That's BS. We're not going to tolerate it."

The defending national champions shook off a slow start, tied 3-3 well into the second quarter, to gradually pull away on the strength of Jalen Hurts' passing connections with Calvin Ridley and the strong running of Joshua Jacobs. Hurts finished with 262 yards passing, two touchdowns and no interceptions. The two scoring passes both went to Ridley, who hauled in 11 catches for 174 yards on the night. Jacobs added 100 yards rushing on 16 carries and scored one touchdown.

Kentucky was hurt by two turnovers, both fumbles by quarterback Stephen Johnson. The first negated a chance for UK to attempt a field goal from the Alabama 21-yard line. The second was scooped up by the Tide and returned for a score.

The Cats have turned the ball over 14 times this season, doubling their opponents' miscues.

In this All Wildcats "Rapid Recap" feature, we touch on some of the highlights from UK's loss... 

WHAT WENT WRONG:

Kentucky played a decent first half against Alabama, but two major mistakes put the Cats in a bigger hole than they should have faced at the half. Both were on UK quarterback Stephen Johnson, who fumbled after leading the Cats to the Alabama 21 late in the first quarter. UK should have come away with a field goal attempt at the very least, but Johnson held onto the ball too long trying to make a play and fumbled when hit by Christian Miller and Ryan Anderson. The second was another Johnson fumble in Tide territory, this time one that turned into a 55-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Ronnie Harrison. The Cats played well enough to be in a 10-6 game at the half. Instead, it was a 17-3 hole, almost insurmountable against this opponent. 

GAME BALL:

Calvin Ridley, Alabama -- The Tide's star wideout destroyed the Kentucky secondary en route to 11 catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Many UK defenders tried their luck with him. None succeeded. NFL defensive backs will soon face that same challenge.

BY THE NUMBERS:

0 - Wins all-time for Kentucky in Tuscaloosa.

4th - Opponent that the Crimson Tide have held to 10 or fewer points.

7th - Non-offensive touchdown of the season scored by Alabama on a fumble return by Harrison in the second quarter. It was the 53rd for the Tide in 10 years under Saban.

9 - Negative-yardage stops made by the Bama defense.

11 - Yards for former Berea (Ky.) Madison Southern star Damien Harris, who had just two rushing attempts against the Cats.

22 - Yards rushing for UK junior running back Boom Williams, who came into the game riding back to back 100-yard efforts. 

QUOTABLE:

"It's a great team. I've got to give it to them." -- UK safety Mike Edwards on the Crimson Tide.

UP NEXT:

Kentucky returns home to Commonwealth Stadium next weekend to face Vanderbilt (2-3, 0-2 SEC) in a 4 p.m. ET kickoff. The Commodores lost 13-7 to Florida on Saturday in Nashville. 


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