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Initial Impressions From the Alabama vs Kentucky Game

Some quick thoughts on the action from last night..

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Was it just me or did that win last night look like 70-0 but felt like 24-0?

I've heard many people this morning (and last night) mention that Alabama had a slow start against Kentucky.  That a tied ball game at the end of the 1st meant UK was holding it's own against the #1 team in the country. The facts, however, don't support the narrative. Alabama's 200 yards of total offense compared to Kentucky's 19 in the first quarter is not a sign of a team starting slow. The two fumbles and a critical 3rd down drop pass changed the perception of how well Alabama was playing.

The Bad

Alabama had a serious case of the dropsies all night. I couldn't find an actual stat showing how many drop passes but I'm going to guess it was near the double digit mark. At least two, one by Yeldon and another by Fowler, should have gone for TD's.

The two fumbles mentioned above. Both were inexcusable and against better competition (see LSU and maybe even Auburn)  would be potentially devastating.

John Fulton in pass coverage. I couldn't see if it was a double move or what but Fulton was a good 6 yards behind Blue.

The Good

The offensive line. Two running backs went over 100 yards, AJ was never sacked and he threw for 369 yards. They had a few plays that left you scratching your head (Lindsay had a hold in the 3rd that negated a 40 yard gain) but all in all they controlled the line of scrimmage, kept AJ upright, and opened running lanes for the running back.

Grant Hill looked almost like a co-starter at RT. He played well but did have I believe two presnap penalties. It's hard to say who is playing better between Shephard and Hill but given his youth, I'd give a slight advantage to Hill. And outside of the one holding call, Lindsay is playing extremely well at center. Kelly may have lost his starting job...

Oh THERE you are COOPER. It was nice to see him get come catches last night and make an impact in the game. I'd like to see him get a few touchdowns, but for now, 64 yards on 3 receptions is a nice start.

The Great

AJ McCarron had a whale of a game, and if not for all the dropped passes, could have easily thrown for 400+ yards and 3 TD's. He was a bit late on a touchdown pass attempt to O.J. Howard in the 3rd and two plays later should have led White another foot or two but that's nitpicking at this point. The offense as a whole is starting to show glimpses of why we are all gushing in the preseason.

The drive early in the 4th, while McShay was talking nonsense, was particularly impressive.

The defense. Yes, this is Kentucky and sure we knocked out their starting QB on the 2nd drive but holding any team to 170 yards on 52 plays (3.3 yards per play) is damn impressive. C.J. was C.J. A'Shawn Robinson now has 6 sacks on the year and is ranked 32nd nationally.

I'm sure some gump somewhere got really upset when Kentucky scored a TD, and it was terrible coverage, but this defense has been playing with a chip on their shoulder since A&M.

Kentucky ran for only 94 yards on 32 attempts (2.7 yards a run) and passed for only 76 total yards on 18 attempts (4.2 yards per attempt). That's dominating defense.

In the end, outside of the two fumbles, I'd give the team an A. They were obviously playing against inferior competition and never really played at 100% effort.  You can't really complain when your team goes on the road in the SEC and gets a 48-7 win. It wasn't  always pretty but the team got out of Lexington without any serious injuries and a win, which is all you can really ask for.

Up next is Arkansas, who looked, well, terrible against USCe. Their power rushing attack should provide a change of pace for our defense and should give us a glimpse into how they'll fair against LSU.

Roll Tide