The Kentucky Wildcats are sitting at 3-4 this season and will travel to Bryant-Denny Stadium to take on the top-ranked undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday afternoon in an SEC showdown. The Wildcats are coming in with some momentum as they held onto their lead and won 38-35 against the Vanderbilt Commodores last week. The Crimson Tide are coming off a week in which they were forced to postpone their game against the LSU Tigers due to COVID-19.
Senior Terry Wilson will be under center for the Wildcats and has 10 total touchdowns to just one interception, which happened in his first game of the season. For Alabama, junior Mac Jones will be the quarterback and he is having a Heisman-worthy campaign as he has thrown 16 touchdowns to two interceptions and a QBR of 95.6 (a scale of 1-100 where 50 is considered average). There is a lot to dive into for this game so let’s talk about some key factors heading into Saturday’s matchup.
(Late line movements and injury reports were updated on Saturday morning.)
The line has moved slightly in favor of the hosts in this contest. Alabama opened the lines as a 29.5-point favorite. That line has moved in Alabama’s favor as they now stand as a 32.5-point favorite at the majority of sportsbooks. A narrow majority, 56 percent, of the bets ATS are backing the Tide at home.
After opening at 57.5 points, the number has stayed flat or gone up to 58 depending on the sportsbook. 56 percent of the bets on the total are backing the over in this contest.
Game-time Weather: It’s going to be a picture-perfect fall afternoon in Tuscaloosa. Temperature at kickoff is expected to be in the low-70s. There are mostly sunny skies in the forecast with no precipitation expected for this contest. Temperatures will fall into the low-60s as the game continues. Winds are expected from the east-northeast around five miles an hour. The wind gusts will kick up to six miles per hour during the game.
Get Some Yardage On the GroundIt is important for Kentucky to get going in the running game against Alabama and it starts with sophomore running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. On the season, Rodriguez has rushed the ball 88 times for 562 yards and six touchdowns, matching his total from his first two seasons combined. He is also coming off a huge game against Vandy as he went for a season-high 149 yards on just 13 carries and a pair of touchdowns. He is yet to record a reception though this season, which is weird considering all the snaps he is on the field for. Alabama needs to figure out a way to contain him as they gameplan against the Wildcats.
The Crimson Tide have been pretty good against opposing rushing attacks as they allow 128.8 rushing yards per game this season. In their last game, the Mississippi State Bulldogs were only able to muster 37 rushing yards on 15 attempts against Alabama so the number one team in the nation are building confidence on one of their weakest aspects. If Kentucky wants to have a chance in this matchup, they are going to need a big game out of Chris Rodriguez Jr on the ground to get control of the time of possession and keep their offense off the field.
Kentucky Injury Report:
OUT: TE Brenden Bates, LB Chris Oats
Questionable: LB Jamin Davis
Heisman History in the Making?Mac Jones is having a dominant beginning to his season and maintaining it with three regular season games remaining for the Crimson Tide after the postponed LSU Tigers matchup is not expected to be rescheduled this season. He currently has the best odds at winning the Heisman Trophy this season and would be the third player and first quarterback to ever win the Heisman Trophy in Alabama’s history. Jones is completing 78.5 percent of his passes and is eighth in passing yards and second in QBR with only two interceptions against some of the toughest defenses in the country. It’ll be interesting to see if he declares for the NFL Draft after this season is finished.
Kentucky has allowed the fewest passing yards per game in the SEC with just 214.1 so it’ll be the biggest matchup of Alabama’s biggest offensive strength going against the Wildcats’ biggest defensive strength. They have recorded nine sacks, which is a little more than one per game but have forced 11 interceptions. With Mac Jones refusing to make mistakes, this could end up being one of his toughest matchups even after facing defenses like the Georgia Bulldogs. This will be where everyone that has some cheddar on the game will be looking at the most.
Alabama Injury Report:
OUT: RB Trey Sanders, WR Jaylen Waddle
Questionable: TE Miller Forristall, DL Phidarian Mathis, DL Labryan Ray
- Alabama: 5-0 ATS in their last 5 home games
- Alabama: 4-0 ATS vs a team with a losing record
- Kentucky: 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games following a double-digit loss at home
- Kentucky: 9-20 ATS in their last 29 games in November