Leave it to Kentucky to cure Alabama's woes.
Alabama came in with two consecutive losses and a struggling offense, but the Wildcats played gracious host, helping the Crimson Tide right the ship in a 45-17 Alabama victory.
The Kentucky defense allowed 304 rushing yards on 63 carries and the Crimson Tide controlled the ball for 41:05.
No Kentucky loss in 2004 is complete without the Wildcats inviting disaster in the form of turnovers and mistakes. Two fumbles, a 100-yard kickoff return and a blocked punt led to 28 points on four straight Alabama possessions, helping the Tide turn a three-point third-quarter lead into a blowout.
Trailing just 17-14, Kentucky's Dicky Lyons Jr. returned a punt to the Kentucky 40, but a penalty on Alabama gave Kentucky the option to make the Tide punt again. Kentucky coach Rich Brooks chose that option and Andrew Hopewell broke through for a near-block on the punt, only to have Alabama punter Bo Freeland tuck the ball as Hopewell sailed past. Freeland ran for 24 yards and a first down.
"I've never seen anything like that in my life," Kentucky wide receiver Gerad Parker said. "But a lot of things have happened like that around here the last five years."
Most of Kentucky's performance was too familiar for a 1-4 team with three straight losses.
"I'm extremely disappointed because I thought that at two or three points in this game we were in a position to win this game only to have it turn against us," Brooks said. "I'm mad, I'm disappointed, but no, I wouldn't say I'm discouraged. I'm very irritated. We get chances to do things. "This game has no business being a game as lopsided as it was."
GAME BALL GOES TO: LB Brad Booker -- In a game marked by missed tackles, Booker recorded a career-high eight tackles, including one for a 2-yard loss.
KEEP AN EYE ON: P Sevin Sucurovic -- Sucurovic produced a career day with the two longest punts of his career, for 57 and 54 yards, two punts inside the 20-yard line and an average of 52.5 yards per attempt.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't think this is the time or place to go into it. I'm not going into it. I don't think it's fair to do that." -- Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart, discussing coach Rich Brooks' status with the Lexington Herald-Leader.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: With a blocked field goal in the first quarter against Alabama, Kentucky has blocked a kick in each of its five games this season. Lonnell Dewalt once again did the damage with his fourth blocked field goal of the season.
STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: This team needs help in every phase, but no one area needs more help than the Wildcats' tendency to turn the ball over in the worst possible situations. Turnovers helped turn a 17-14 game into a blowout.
ROSTER REPORT: With each game, freshmen are playing a greater role for the Wildcats. Against Alabama true freshman right guard Micah Jones, sophomore wideout Maurice Marchman and sophomore inside linebacker Brad Booker all earned their first career starts, while true freshman strong safety Wesley Woodyard played exclusively at linebacker in the second half.
"And I think we found ourselves a football player," defensive coordinator Mike Archer said of Woodyard's performance. Other freshmen playing regular roles include LB Joe Schuler, DB Marcus McClinton, DL Jason Leger, OL Aaron Miller, RBs Tony Dixon and Rafael Little and WR/KR Dicky Lyons Jr.