The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

October 14, 2013

Top-ranked Alabama sees room for improvement

— LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Top-ranked Alabama's latest blowout win included enough mistakes to concern coach Nick Saban and his players.

The Crimson Tide (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) steamrolled Kentucky 48-7 on Saturday night, but only after an error-prone start featuring turnovers and dropped passes for the two-time defending champions.

What gnawed at defensive players more than allowing their first touchdown in four games was letting the Wildcats drive 75 yards for the score. Even though the Crimson Tide had a commanding 31-0 lead in the middle of the third quarter, Alabama players were disappointed in their efforts.

They say the breakdowns in an otherwise stellar performance are examples of where improvement is needed. There will be a quality control review of the mistakes this week by Alabama, focusing on improving execution before beginning a three-game homestand against Arkansas on Saturday.

"We made a lot of plays; we made a lot of explosive plays," Saban said after the Crimson Tide outgained Kentucky 668-170. "Everybody has to be accountable to do their role so we can be the best team we can be. I think we're a better team now than we were (before the game).

"We're making improvements, but I still think there are things we need to continue to work on."

The coach was pleased to see his team close strong by scoring on its last eight possessions and make program history by having a 300-yard passer and two 100-yard rushers in the same game.

Running backs T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake ran for 124 and 106 yards, respectively, and two touchdowns each. Senior quarterback AJ McCarron completed 21 of 35 passes for a career-high 359 yards and a 20-yard TD to Kevin Norwood.

Those performances followed first-quarter mistakes resulting in the Crimson Tide's first scoreless period this season.

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