Alabama’s offense was sluggish to start the Kentucky game. There was no rhythm and the Crimson Tide actually trailed at one point in the first quarter. Alabama needed help from its defense to swing the momentum toward its offense.
The passing game was off once again. It was due to Alabama trying to take shots down the field, as well as struggles in pass protection.
Things picked up in the second half as Jalen Hurts and Calvin Ridley connected 7 times in the third quarter, including 2 that went for touchdowns. Heading into a stretch that features Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas A&M, Alabama will need to clean up the slow starts and execute better in the passing game to have success going forward.
Alabama held Kentucky to 161 yards of total offense. Kentucky running back Stanley “Boom” Williams entered the game third in the SEC with an average of 116 yards per game and 8 yards per carry. He finished Saturday with 22 rushing yards. Williams averaged just 2.4 yards per carry and his longest run went for 10 yards.
None of Kentucky’s talented running backs could get anything going. Jojo Kemp was the Wildcats’ top rusher with just 39 yards.
Things weren’t much better through the air, as quarterback Stephen Johnson threw for just 89 yards with a long pass of 16 yards. Alabama sacked Johnson 4 times on Saturday.
Alabama’s defense also scored the team’s seventh non-offensive touchdown of the season on a fumble return.
Special teams: A
Alabama didn’t need its special teams too much. Punter JK Scott punted just one time for 58 yards. Kicker Adam Griffith made 2-of-3 field-goal attempts. Griffith connected from 44 and 24 yards, but missed from 35 yards. It didn’t matter on Saturday, but that inconsistency could be a problem if Alabama is in a close game down the road. Griffith’s other two misses this season came from 40-plus yards.
The offensive staff is clearly doing everything in its power to work on the passing game. That’s really the only issue with the offense at this point. Alabama can run the ball when it wants to, particularly behind the left side of the offensive line.
But there may come a time again this season when the Crimson Tide have to throw to win, so the staff is doing its best to get Hurts a lot of reps in passing situations.
It’s good that Alabama didn’t play a perfect game this week because the coaching staff has plenty to clean up as the SEC games get tougher.
Alabama’s offense started sloppy while the defense held the team up early. That was the case in the season opener vs. Southern Cal. It was the case against Ole Miss. It’s still the case five games into the season.
Honestly, it may be the case all year as the offense continues to grow around Hurts and Co.