Rapid Reaction: Alabama crushes Kentucky on a historic day for DeVonta Smith. Now, all eyes on Auburn
Alabama played a pretty dozy first quarter but then opened up quickly to coast to an easy 63-3 victory over Kentucky.
The top-ranked Tide blew open the game with 3 touchdowns in the 2nd quarter. The win extended the Tide’s all-time advantage in the series to 38-2-1.
Alabama QB Mac Jones continued his potential Heisman Trophy run with another strong day. Jones was 16-for-24 passing for 230 yards and a pair of touchdowns. As a recruit, Jones committed to Kentucky before drawing interest from Alabama, where he has ultimately made a name for himself.
Tide receiver DeVonta Smith also had a strong game, with 9 receptions for 144 yards and a pair of touchdowns, the first of which set an SEC record for career receiving touchdowns (32). Smith had been tied with Florida receiver Chris Doering and Alabama great Amari Cooper at 31. Smith added his 33rd career TD catch late in the 3rd quarter on a short crossing route from backup Bryce Young. That TD made it 49-3.
Kentucky was down a substantial number of players due to injuries and COVID-19 related issues. Senior running back A.J. Rose had a strong game, with 10 carries for 68 yards. Defensive back Kelvin Joseph had an interception of Jones, his 4th pick of the year.
Alabama won the opening coin toss and deferred. After forcing a punt, the Tide went 55 yards in 6 plays, opening the scoring with a 1-yard scoring run by Najee Harris. Kentucky responded with an 8 play, 58-yard drive that approached the goal line before ending in a 33-yard Matt Ruffolo field goal with 5:19 to go in the quarter that drew UK to within 7-3.
After forcing a Bama punt, Kentucky had a chance to grab a rare lead, but its drive stalled at Alabama’s 6-yard line. Then the snap for the field goal attempt sailed over the holder’s head, and UK took a 36-yard loss on the play. Four plays later, Jones hit Smith with a 10-yard record-breaking touchdown.
From there, the Tide took over, with Harris adding a 42-yard scoring run after a Kentucky missed field goal. Late in the half, Jones hit John Metchie for an 18-yard score, as Alabama took a 28-3 advantage into halftime.
The Tide extended their lead on a 3rd quarter pick-6 from Jordan Battle. The 45-yard interception return stretched the Alabama lead to 35-3. The Tide extended their advantage on a 1-yard scoring run by Brian Robinson, Jr. with 6:43 to play in the 3rd quarter. Later in the quarter, backup QB Bryce Young threw an 18-yard TD pass to Smith, who split a pair of Kentucky defenders to reach the end zone and extend the Alabama lead to 49-3.
Jase McClellan, who led the Tide with 99 yards rushing, added a 19-yard TD for the final margin.
Alabama improved to 7-0 ahead of next week’s showdown against Auburn.
Kentucky, which fell to 3-5, travels to Florida next Saturday before finishing the regular season at home against South Carolina.