UK Welcomes Top-Ranked Alabama to Commonwealth Stadium
Oct. 10, 2013
Kentucky will host No. 1 Alabama in Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Saturday's matchup will mark Kentucky's fourth straight game against a team currently ranked inside the AP Top 20 for the first time in school history.
UK is coming off a 35-28 loss to No. 13/12 South Carolina last Saturday, as the Wildcats mounted a furious second-half comeback outscoring the Gamecocks 21-8 in the fourth quarter to come up just short in the upset bid. Alabama enters the matchup 5-0 (2-0 SEC), having defeated Georgia State 45-3 in its most recent outing.
Kentucky has played the nation's top-ranked team 13 times in its history, having won three of those meetings. UK's last win over a No. 1 team came during the 2007 season in a triple-overtime thriller at home vs. LSU.
Individually, Jalen Whitlow took all snaps at quarterback for the first time this season against South Carolina and had his best game of the year. Whitlow finished 17-of-24 passing for 178 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing 17 times for 69 yards and a score.
Over the last month, Kentucky has played an unprecedented stretch of difficult games.
First was a matchup with No. 7 Louisville. Two weeks later, the Wildcats had a bye week to prepare for No. 19 Florida. The next Saturday, they would head on the road for a test against No. 13 South Carolina. To finish it off, UK will welcome top-ranked Alabama.
Could there be a more fitting way to cap the first set of four consecutive games against top-20 opponents in school history than by facing the two-time defending national champion? ... read the full preview
Alabama enters Saturday's game against Kentucky with a 5-0 record, including a 2-0 mark in Southeastern Conference action. The Crimson Tide cruised to a non-conference home win last weekend at home, 45-3, over Georgia State. Saturday's matchup will be the third SEC game of the season for Alabama, which won 49-42 at Texas A&M to open conference play before shutting out No. 21 Ole Miss in a 25-0 home win two weeks later. Alabama is ranked No.1 in both polls.
Offensively, Alabama is led by third-year starter AJ McCarron at quarterback. The senior averages 209.6 yards per game passing. He has thrown for 1,048 yards this season with 10 touchdowns. The Alabama rushing attack is led by sophomore T.J. Yeldon, who has 445 yards on the ground this season, with an average of 89.0 yards per game. Alabama's top receiver is Christion Jones, who has 232 yards receiving on 20 catches with two touchdowns this season. Jones has a touchdown on a kick return and a touchdown on a punt return in 2013 as well.
Defensively, Alabama has the top scoring defense in the SEC, and ranks fourth nationally as the Crimson Tide is allowing 12.2 points per game. The Tide ranks inside the SEC top-5 in rushing defense (2) passing defense (5) and total defense (2). Senior linebacker and 2012 consensus first team All-American C.J. Mosely leads the team with 41 total tackles, which ranks eighth in the SEC. Junior defensive back Vinnie Sunseri has broken up four passes this season, along with two interceptions which he returned for touchdowns.