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October 12, 2013LEXINGTON, Ky. | Nick Saban called it "just trying to play Alabama football."
Mark Stoops called it a hard lesson for his Kentucky Wildcats.
Saban's No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide bobbled through the first quarter, then shifted into dominant mode, rolling past UK 48-7 on Saturday night to run its record to 6-0 on the season. Quarterback AJ McCarron threw for a career-best 359 yards (although only one touchdown), and both primary running back went over the 100-yard mark, T.J. Yeldon with 124 and Kenyan Drake with 106. The pair scored two touchdowns each.
Defensively, the Crimson Tide limited UK to just 170 yards and one touchdown, a 30-yard pass from backup quarterback Maxwell Smith to Javess Blue in the third quarter. Smith was pressed into action after UK starting quarterback Jalen Whitlow went down with an ankle injury on the Wildcats' second series.
Two fumbles, one by Drake and one by Yeldon, stopped Alabama (3-0 in the Southeastern Conference) in the red zone in the first quarter.
"We can't be the team we want to be and turn the ball over," Saban said.
Alabama started its scoring with a Cade Foster field goal early in the second quarter. Drake added two touchdown runs and Yeldon had another before halftime as Alabama took a 24-0 lead at the break.
The Crimson Tide never slowed down in the second half, rolling to its most prolific yardage output - 668 - in 40 years.
The game also marked a re-emergence of sorts for wide receiver Amari Cooper, who made three catches for 64 yards and set up a third-quarter Yeldon touchdown with a 42-yard catch.
"We have a pretty good group of receivers and a couple of pretty good running backs, so we want to involve as many of those players as we possibly can," Saban said. "And AJ obviously does a good job of making decisions and delivering the football.
"I got asked what happened early in the game," Saban added. "Well, nothing happened except we moved the ball right down the field and then fumbled the ball."
Kentucky coach Stoops said it was a "disappointing night" for his overmatched team, now 1-5 on the season and 0-3 in the SEC.
"I thought we'd compete a little harder, but give credit to them," Stoops said. "That's the No. 1 team in the nation for a reason. That's a big, physical team that plays with great technique, and they are very well-coached.
"But we didn't do our best tonight. When you're playing the No. 1 team in the country, at least give them your best shot, go toe-to-toe and let the chips fall where they may. We didn't do that."
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or 205-722-0225.