The Edge: UK football will be swept away by the Tide



By Alex Forkner | Football Beat Writer

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Sailing against the Tide

The University of Alabama’s defense has proven to have the ability to beat teams in different ways this year.

The Tide let Texas A&M University ride like a surfer catching a 100-foot wave, tasting glory, before crashing down on the Aggies. The Tide has also taken away every opportunity for essentially every other team, leaving opponents dragging their boogie boards along barren seafloor and cutting their feet on broken seashells.

So what chance does UK have of hanging points on the scoring defense tied for fourth in the nation?

UK sophomore quarterback Jalen Whitlow isn’t TAMU sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel, but he can put Alabama in some measure of a run/pass conflict. It likely won’t pay dividends like it did for the Aggies, as the Cats aren’t quite as talented at wideout.

Any success the Cats might find will be short-lived, said UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown.

“Anything that’s successful, it’s only successful once, you know what I mean? It’s not repeated,” he said. “(Alabama does) a great job not only in their game planning, but also during the game, of correcting things.”

More bad news for UK: Alabama ranks seventh in first-down defense. The Cats have really struggled moving the chains this year, especially on third down. If they get behind schedule on first and second down, it could be a long night of suffocating defense from Alabama.

Edge: Alabama

McCarron, master of the universe

Now in his senior year, Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron has thrown for over 7,000 career yards and has racked up 59 touchdowns to only 11 interceptions. His completion percentage thus far this season is 71.4 percent. Oh yeah, he’s also won two national titles, if you’re into that sort of thing.

“The reason that he’s good is because he makes great decisions,” UK defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said of McCarron. “He understands his offense, he plays within his offense, he has great patience. He doesn’t panic. Therefore he’s tough to stop.”

McCarron has a knack for picking defenses apart. It doesn’t hurt that he has a rushing attack that averages five yards per carry to make for a balanced blitzkrieg that’s been the demise of many teams.

Alabama has won 16-straight games away from home, so don’t expect the blue-clad crowd to have much of an effect on McCarron and the rest of the Tide, no matter how packed Commonwealth Stadium is.

Edge: Alabama

Overall Edge: Alabama

That a gulf of talent and experience exists between these two teams should surprise no one. There is typically a gulf between Alabama and everyone else, at least since Alabama head coach Nick Saban turned Tuscaloosa, Ala., back into Titletown.

Prediction: Alabama 38, UK 10