After slow start, No. 1 Crimson Tide blows by Kentucky
by Marq Burnett
mburnett@annistonstar.com
Oct 12, 2013 | 2365 views |  0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alabama wide receiver Kevin Norwood (83) congratulates running back T.J. Yeldon after Yeldon scored on a 24-yard touchdown run. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
Alabama wide receiver Kevin Norwood (83) congratulates running back T.J. Yeldon after Yeldon scored on a 24-yard touchdown run. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Listening to Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley and safety Vinnie Sunseri’s postgame news conference, one would think the Crimson Tide had lost the game.

Two of the Tide’s defensive leaders were upset, despite pummelling Kentucky 48-7 on Saturday in Commonwealth Stadium.

Mosley and Sunseri weren’t pleased with the defensive performance even though the unit held the Wildcats to 170 total yards and just 2 of 12 on third down conversions.

It was the seven on the scoreboard and the zero in the forced-turnover category that bothered Mosley and Sunseri.

“Overall, it was a great win,” Mosley said. “We still gave up a touchdown and we still haven’t forced any turnovers yet. There are still things we can work on, but at the end of the day, it was a great win.”

Added Sunseri, “We don’t ever want to give up a touchdown. It was a lot of mental errors and a lot of mishaps.”

Alabama’s defense continues to shoot for a seemingly unattainable standard. One mistake on defense gave the Wildcats a 20-yard touchdown pass from Maxwell Smith to Javess Blue.

On the surface, it’s just one play, but for a defense coached by Nick Saban and coordinated by Kirby Smart, it will be something to correct in the coming week of practice.

“At the end of the day, we want to meet all of our goals and we really wanted a shutout this game,” Mosley said. “The reason we didn’t is because we didn’t execute the right way, so some of those plays we have to work on. It’s not like it was something that they did (on the touchdown play). We just messed up on our side.”

Offensively, the Tide came out a little flat, but finished strong with 668 yards of offense. The Tide had two promising drives stalled by fumbles deep in Kentucky territory. Running backs Kenyan Drake and T.J. Yeldon fumbled on consecutive drives in the first quarter and the Tide was unable to score a touchdown in the opening period.

“We just have to forget about it,” Yeldon said. “We have to keep the ball high and tight. Our teammates helped us out and told us don’t worry about it and to keep running the ball.”

Both rebounded after receiving words of encouragement from teammates and coaches. Yeldon led the way on the ground with 124 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. Drake followed suit with 106 yards and two touchdowns, adding 44 receiving yards.

Saban was asked how he felt his two leading rushers responding from the turnovers.

“What did you think? I thought they did pretty well. They didn’t fumble anymore,” Saban said. “I thought both guys rans well. … If our guys are going to be the best, they know that (fumbles) are things they are going to have to eliminate.”

Quarterback AJ McCarron quietly had a 359-yard passing game. McCarron wasn’t his usual efficient self, completing 21-of-35 passes, in part because of drops by receivers. But McCarron wasn’t down on his wideouts during or after the game.

“Those guys know how to handle it,” McCarron said. “They don’t need me saying anything. You’re going to have nights like that. We did a good job bouncing back and making plays when we needed to.”

Marq Burnett covers Alabama for The Anniston Star. Email: mburnett@annistonstar.com. Twitter: @marq_burnett.
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