Tide set to tussle with Wildcats

By Staff
After strong wins against Virginia Tech, Florida International, North Texas and Arkansas, third-ranked Alabama will play its first true road game of the 2009 season when it visits Kentucky this morning.
The Crimson Tide (4-0, 1-0) dominated Arkansas in their Southeastern Conference opener last week while Kentucky (2-1, 0-1) fell behind the top-ranked Florida Gators 31-0 by the end of the first quarter last week.
Alabama could continue the Wildcats' first-quarter woes as the Crimson Tide has been nearly unstoppable in the first quarter this season. They have scored on eight of 13 drives in the opening quarter and have racked up 480 total yards of offense during the first quarter of their first four games.
The Crimson Tide ranks in the top 10 of seven different team statistical categories including rushing defense (second), total defense (second), offensive pass efficiency (fifth), total offense (eighth), scoring offense (ninth), rushing offense (10th) and tackles for loss (10th).
Individually, Alabama has a couple of players standing out nationally. Quarterback Greg McElroy has completed 63-of-93 pass attempts for 938 yards, seven touchdowns and only one interception. That is good enough for a passing efficiency rating of 175.15 – third best in the country.
Mark Ingram is also making noise out of the backfield. He has rushed for 347 yards through four games – the 34th best total in the nation – and has caught 13 passes for 141 yards.
Javier Arenas is looking to the record books. He needs 165 punt-return yards to set the all-time SEC record and 231 punt-return yards to set the NCAA record. He has 285 punt-return yards through four games in 2009.
Kentucky opened the season with wins against Miami (Ohio) and Louisville before falling to Florida last week. The Wildcats are giving up an average of 22.7 points per game and scoring an average of 26.7 points per game.
Alabama is allowing 13 points per game and scoring an average of 40.5 points.
Alabama leads the all-time series 34-2-1, including a 14-2 mark in the state of Kentucky.
Alabama's last loss to the Wildcats was a 40-34 overtime defeat in 1997 in Lexington.