TUSCALOOSA, Ala. If there was ever a question that Alabama football still deserved to be number one in the country after three weeks without an opponent, it was quickly answered that Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Yes. Yes it does.
After the long roster break, the Crimson Tide rolled over the Kentucky Wildcats, 63-3.
I think everyone was excited to be able to play again after all that free time, ”said Alabama coach Nick Saban after the game. I think we started a bit slow. The energy, the intensity, the attention to detail in the beginning of the game wasn’t what we wanted, but I think we played better and better as the game went on. “
Alabama redshirt junior quarterback Mac Jones continued to stake his claim as a candidate for the Heisman Trophy, throwing 16-for-24 for 230, two touchdowns and an interception.
However, the main storyline of the Crimson Tide crime was senior wide receiver DeVonta Smith. In all, Smith was good for 144 yards on nine receptions and two touchdowns.
The first touchdown came in the second quarter, with Jones receiving 10 yards. The touchdown was the 32nd of his career for Smith, who broke former Crimson Tide wide receiver Amari Cooper’s record for the most receiving touchdowns.
The second put Smith at 33, extending his lead as the top-grossing wide receiver in Alabama programming history.
“It is certainly a blessing to have my name along with the best that has ever come through the SEC and this school,” Smith said during his post-game interview.
On the ground, senior running back Najee Harris led Alabama with 83 yards on 13 tries and two touchdowns. Late in the second quarter, Harris ran home for the longest touchdown of his Crimson Tide career.
“That run really shows all the hard work,” said Harris. “ I knew this was a team that would run by shooting very fast to safety, running, passing the gaps, the line would move a lot so when I saw the seam I knew like I might not i get to see this seam again so i took advantage of it and i think it worked. “
Harris’ second touchdown brought his season total to 16, the highest number ever by an Alabama falling in the first seven games of a season.
In total, the Crimson Tide attack amounted to 509 total yards, of which 283 were airborne and 226 were on the ground.
Defensively, Alabama got off to a slow start, but soon regained its composure.
After the first quarter, despite scoring just three runs, Kentucky had registered a total of 121 yards in violation. However, the Wildcats were unable to capitalize in the red zone and Alabama’s defenses improved as the match progressed. It kept Kentucky just 27 yards in the second half, all in a hurry.
The score also spoke for itself. Crimson Tide’s defense did not allow a touchdown, making it impossible to reach the end zone for two weeks.
In terms of sales, there was only one for Alabama, but it was a good one. With just over 10 minutes to go in the third quarter, second defender Jordan Battle intercepted Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson and returned the pick 45 yards for a touchdown.
While the pick-six may not have been much on paper, the momentum of the second half changed at that point. Prior to the interception, the Crimson Tide attack had stalled, with one interception and two kicks. After that, the Alabama offense scored one time it had possession for the remainder of the game.
“I know earlier that I missed it because I read the wrong call,” Battle said of his sixth. “And then they came back to it and I got on my hook and I saw it again and I saw the RPO and I broke on it and I just rocked it afterwards.”
Battle’s interception was Alabama’s 79th non-offensive landing in the Saban era.
With the win, Alabama improved to 7-0 and made a solid statement for the initialThe College Football Playoff rankings will be released on Tuesday.
Kentucky dropped to 3-5.
Alabama is gearing up for its annual rivalry game against Auburn, taking place next Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT at Bryant-Stadium (CBS).
This story will be updated with video as soon as it is released.
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