Kentucky Falls to No. 8 Alabama on Saturday
Ray Davis rushed for a pair of touchdowns but Kentucky lost its 2023 home finale, falling to No. 8 Alabama 49-21 on Saturday at Kroger Field.
Quarterback Devin Leary completed 17 of 31 through the air for 158 yards and a touchdown for the Cats.
Kentucky (6-4, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) got a game-high eight tackles from freshman Ty Bryant.
Alabama (9-1, 7-0) had the game’s first possession, and the Tide wasted no time getting on the board. Alabama covered 80 yards in 10 plays, ending with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Jalen Milroe to Amari Niblack. Will Reichard added the point after and Alabama led 7-0 with 9:38 to play in the first quarter.
Kentucky went three and out on its first possession and the Cats punted the ball back to the Tide, who took over at their own 45 yard line with 7:23 left in the first. Alabama would score again, this time on a 40-yard pass from Milroe to Kobe Prentice. Reichard added the PAT and the Tide led 14-0 with 5:32 to play in the first quarter.
On Kentucky’s first play from scrimmage on the next drive, Leary connected with Barion Brown, but the UK receiver fumbled and Alabama’s Terrion Arnold recovered and took it to the one yard line. From there, Milroe scored on a one-yard touchdown run, Reichard added the PAT and the Tide led 21-0 with 5:12 left in the first quarter.
Kentucky punted again on its next possession but All-American return man Kool-Aid McKinstry muffed the kick and UK’s Nasir Addison recovered at the Alabama 32, giving UK its best field position of the quarter. UK would take advantage of the good field position, scoring its first touchdown of the day on a six-yard pass from Leary to Tayvion Robinson. Alex Raynor added the point after and the Alabama lead was cut to 21-7 with 1:30 left in the first.
Early in the second quarter, Alabama added to its lead when Milroe hit Roydell Williams with a 26-yard touchdown pass. Reichard added the PAT and the Tide led 28-7 with 10:14 left in the half.
From there, neither team scored for the remainder of the half and the Tide took a 28-7 lead into the break.
Kentucky started the second half in fine fashion. The Cats got the first possession of the third quarter and promptly marched 75 yards in 10 plays, concluding with a two-yard touchdown run by Ray Davis. Raynor added the PAT and the Alabama lead was trimmed to 28-14 with 10:53 still to play in the third quarter.
Alabama responded with a touchdown drive of its own. This time, a three-yard touchdown run by Milroe added to the Alabama lead. Reichard added the point after and the Tide led 35-14 with 6:29 left in the third. The Tide would be knocking on the door as the third quarter ended with Alabama leading 35-14.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Milroe scored on a one-yard rush, adding to the Alabama lead. Reichard added the PAT and the Tide led 42-14 with 14:48 remaining. The Tide would score again to make it 49-14 before Kentucky responded with Ramon Jefferson scampering 74 yards to the Alabama one yard line. Three plays later, Davis scored his second touchdown of the day. Raynor added the point after, cutting the Alabama lead to 49-21 with 7:46 to play.
Kentucky returns to action on Saturday, visiting South Carolina for the Cats’ final SEC game of the season. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.