In a crossover SEC matchup, the Kentucky Wildcats look to be little more than lambs to the slaughter. They travel to face the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday night. Kickoff is at 7 pm from Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The national television coverage for the game is provided by ESPN. According to the Vegas odds, Alabama is a 35.5 point favorite in this contest with the over/under set at 57.5 points.
Kentucky evened their record at 2-2 by edging South Carolina 17-10 at home last week. Alabama remained unbeaten as they waffled Kent State 48-0 last week. This is the 40th time that the two schools have met on the gridiron. Alabama holds a 36-2-1 edge in the one-sided rivalry and won the last five meetings. That includes a 48-7 road win in 2013 in the last meeting between the teams. Kentucky’s last win in the series was a 40-34 home win back in 1997.
Kentucky is without quarterback Drew Barker. He is expected to miss “a significant amount of time” with a back injury. In his stead, the Wildcats turn to junior college transfer Stephen Johnson under center. That worked against South Carolina but the #1 team in the country is a different ball of wax. Kentucky averages 408.8 yards of offense, 6.8 yards per play and 30.3 points per game. The Wildcats have a power run game that averages 205.3 yards per game and 5.1 yards per play, Stanley Boom Williams and Jojo Kemp make for a solid pair of backs. Kentucky has a challenge in front of them. Alabama gives up 281.5 yards of total offense and 14.8 points a game. The Crimson Tide allows only 68.8 rushing yards and 2.8 yards per carry. Kentucky could be in serious trouble offensively.
The Crimson Tide is scoring 46.5 points per game in the early going while amassing 483.6 yards of offense per contest. Freshman Jalen Hurts is 64 of 102 passing for 727 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. He adds 251 rushing yards and three scores. Blake Barnett is 11 of 19 for 219 yards and two scores while Cooper Bateman is 3 of 4 for three yards. Damien Harris leads Alabama with 40 carries for 345 yards and a score. Joshua Jacobs (150 rushing yards, TD), B.J. Emmons (20 carries, 110 yards, TD) and Bo Scarbrough (26 carries, 87 yards, 3 TD) are next on the depth chart. Calvin Ridley leads the Crimson Tide with 20 receptions for 224 yards and a score. ArDarius Stewart contributes 13 receptions for 205 yards plus three scores. O.J. Howard has 10 grabs for 152 yards plus a score.
Sure, Alabama had off field issues this week. Barnett withdrew from school, apparently disenfranchised with being #2 on the depth chart. Linebacker Tim Williams was arrested for possession of a concealed weapon. Harris left the Kent State game early with an ankle injury. The fact remains that this is Alabama and Nick Saban has guys ready to step in and contribute if something happens. Kentucky’s defense is a sieve: they allow 471.5 yards and 35.3 points per game. The Wildcats are decent in pass defense with six interceptions but that won’t matter when Alabama can run the ball down their throats. Mark Stoops had a week to bask in the glory of a conference win. He gets jolted back to reality here. Alabama wins this one in crushing fashion. Don’t forget to check here for other games from this week and our picks!
Alabama is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games and 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games on grass. Kentucky is 2-10 ATS in their last 12 games overall and 1-6 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.