The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly: Kentucky at Alabama Game Review

The final word on the Crimson Tide's 60-point victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium after an unexpected two-week layoff
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It was a statistic line you just don't expect to see for the leader of a Nick Saban defense at Alabama. 

Senior middle linebacker Dylan Moses had no tackles against Kentucky on Saturday, not even an assist during the 63-3 victory. There were 22 Crimson Tide players listed in the defensive stats, and his name was not among them.  

So what happened? Closer examination disclosed some things:  

1) Kentucky ran away from him, especially during the first quarter. For example, he'd line up to the quarterback's right, and the play would be a run off the left tackle. It's a big reason why sophomore weakside linebacker Christian Harris had a game-high 11 tackles. 

2) He had a lot going on, including trying to be aware of quarterback Terry Wilson's ability to take off and run. 

At least twice Moses got caught unsure what to do by a last-second Kentucky shift, which was problematic for the defense as a whole early on. Once Alabama saw what the Wildcats were trying to do it adjusted. 

Moses had an obvious missed tackle, and what probably would have been a tackle nullified by a teammate's penalty. There were times Moses was in position to make a play, only someone on the line beat him to it. Twice he was involved in a tackle only another player got the credit. 

He could have easily had five or six. 

3) Kentucky went directly at him once in the passing game, but Moses had the coverage on the tight end so the quarterback threw the ball away. A couple of times the Wildcats tried to pass over/behind him, and they also moved the man he was covering on a shift or in motion and then tried to throw into the gap over the middle. One time it resulted in a 5-yard gain. 

4) Moses didn't play in the fourth quarter. He was pulled with about six minutes to go in third quarter. 

Overall, Kentucky had just five explosive plays (carries of 13 yards or more or completions of 17 yards or more per Saban), with only two after the first quarter. The Wildcats didn't score a touchdown and only reached the red zone twice. 

Play of the Game: Two honorable mentions need to be included, the pick-six touchdown by sophomore safety Jordan Battle, and the 42-yard touchdown run by senior running back Najee Harris, the longest rushing play of the season. However, the 10-yard touchdown reception by senior wide receiver DeVonta Smith not only set a team and SEC record for most career touchdown receptions with 32 (Amari Cooper and Chris Doering both had 31), but it was also an impressive NFL-type throw by redshirt junior quarterback Mac Jones. 

Player of the Game: Smith finished with 144 receiving yards to go over the 100-yard mark for the fourth time this season. He also had two punt returns for 50 yards, including a 41-yarder, giving him 194 total yards.

Statistic of the Game: Kentucky used three quarterbacks and none of them completed a pass in the second half, going 0-for-9. The only ball they threw that was caught was the pick-six.

The Good 

• The defense in general. Kentucky only converted 2 of 13 opportunities on third down, both during a second-quarter possession it failed to score. Alabama hasn't given up a touchdown since the Tennessee game. 

From Alabama Sports Information: Since halftime of a 41-24 win over then-No. 3 Georgia on Oct. 17, Alabama has only allowed 20 points (0 vs. UGA; 17 at Tennessee; 0 vs. Mississippi State; 3 vs. Kentucky) or 5.7 points per game. The Crimson Tide has allowed an average of just 59.6 yards per quarter (834 yards in 14 quarters) in that same time frame or 238.3 yards per game.

• How good was the play call on Harris' 42-yard touchdown? The biggest obstacle to him reaching the end zone was sophomore tackle Evan Neal, whom was hurdled on the ground.  

• Alabama was finally able to get a number of reserve players some needed playing time. Among them, Jahleel Billingsley was a surprise starter and had three catches for 78 yards. Safety DeMarcco Hellams made a couple of big-time hits and is beginning to look a lot more comfortable playing in Saban's scheme. Seth McLaughlin and Damieon George Jr. both made their playing debuts on the offensive line. With freshman Jase McClellan tallying 99 rushing yards in the fourth quarter and Roydell Williams adding 30, and both scoring a touchdown, the running back position is looking strong long-term. 

The Bad 

• Jones got "greedy" (Nick Saban's word, and he was correct) on two deep throws, trying to force the ball into good coverage. One was intercepted and the other should have been. Kentucky opted to take the deep ball away with zone coverage over the top, which should have led to more patience. Bottom line, though, was Jones completed only two of his final seven attempts. 

• Alabama had just 75 yards after the catch after the first quarter, for a a 5.0 average per reception. It stood out because it had 61 on its first three receptions alone. Something to keep in mind was that Alabama faces Auburn next week, so offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian may have been holding back some, especially after the Crimson Tide had a significant lead. 

• Honestly, we don't know where to put this. We just know he's having a really good season:

The Ugly 

• Cornerback Josh Jobe probably should have been called for targeting on the play he was flagged for pass interference, and also for a face mask on a return. Jobe has emerged to be a top cover defensive back, but still has lapses in discipline that better teams will try and exploit. He's now tied for the team lead in penalties this season. 

• Kentucky's special teams. Alabama had all the momentum following the botched snap on an attempted field goal. Instead of the score being 7-6, Alabama had the ball at its own 42 and needed just four plays to reach the end zone. It was all Crimson Tide after that. 

• How many players missed the game? Roughly 20 between the two teams. The good news for Alabama fans is that with students already off campus for the rest of the semester the coronavirus risk on the football team should in theory decrease. 

Some final thoughts about Kentucky at Alabama

• Perhaps the best visual of the night was been when senior guard Deonte Brown was called for a false start in the second half. He just stood there hanging his head. That Alabama had a season-low four penalties for 30 yards after not playing for two weeks told just how hard the team has worked on minimizing penalties.

• Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Slade Bolden hurt his ankle on the opening kickoff of the second half. He had a player land on the back of his leg. 

• Alabama was rotating defensive linemen, depending on the down and distance, on the first series. LaBryan Ray did play (elbow), but not too much. He wasn't credited with a tackle, but did have a hurry. 

• The following numbers aren't necessarily new, but are so impressive they deserve another mention: Alabama has won 30 straight against the SEC East, spanning more than a decade (Oct. 9, 2010 at South Carolina); The Crimson Tide has defeated 96 straight unranked opponents, the longest streak in FBS history; Alabama has been ranked No. 1 part of every season since 2008.  

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly game reviews appear after every Crimson Tide football game on BamaCentral