No. 1 Alabama surges past Kentucky for 34-6 victory
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Jalen Hurts threw two third-quarter touchdown passes to Calvin Ridley and Ronnie Harrison scored on a 55-yard fumble return in No. 1 Alabama's 34-6 victory over Kentucky on Saturday night.
The Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) overcame a slow start to run away from the Wildcats (2-3, 1-2).
The Hurt and Ridley Show took over the second half, hooking up on scoring passes of 10 and 19 yards and plenty in between. Hurts passed for 262 yards, including 173 in the third quarter.
Ridley gained 174 yards on 11 catches, both career-highs.
"Challenged them a little bit at halftime," Tide coach Nick Saban said. "I didn't think we sort of imposed our will in the first half how we could have or should have or wanted to, however you want to say it."
Freshman tailback Joshua Jacobs rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown in his first start with Kentucky native Damien Harris playing a limited role after spraining his right ankle last week against Kent State.
Kentucky did hold a 3-0 lead for half the first quarter.
Hurts couldn't produce any big plays in the passing game until the opening drive of the third quarter. He rolled toward the right sideline and found Ridley wide open for a 46-yard gain. Two plays later, he did the same thing and again Ridley was open -- this time in the end zone.
Kentucky: The Wildcats scored first but couldn't get anything going offensively, getting outgained 488-161. Stanley "Boom" Williams came in averaging 116 yards a game and finished with 22 yards on nine carries.
Alabama: The defense sparked the Tide when Hurts and the offense were misfiring early in the passing game. Alabama had nine sacks. Harris logged only two carries and big-play receiver ArDarius Stewart sat out the second straight game with a knee injury.
NON-OFFENSIVE TDS: Rashaan Evans stripped the ball from quarterback Stephen Johnson and Harrison scooped it up and sprinted to the end zone in the second quarter. Alabama leads the nation with five defensive touchdowns and seven non-offensive TDs.
"I saw the ball come out and somebody else fumbled with it, and the ball was right there on the ground so I just picked it up and ran," Harrison said.
JOHNSON'S NIGHT: Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson was 13 of 22 for 89 yards, lost two fumbles and was sacked four times.
"We wanted to attack the ball, especially on the quarterback," Saban said. "We thought he was a little loose with the ball."UP NEXT
Kentucky hosts Vanderbilt in a matchup of SEC East teams in need of a win.
Alabama visits No. 20 Arkansas to begin a three-week stretch against ranked teams.