UK Football

Extra Points: How Kentucky beat Alabama State

First half

Summary: On the game's second play, UK quarterback Jalen Whitlow — who has been nursing a sprained ankle — ran 88 yards for a touchdown. After former Georgia star Isaiah Crowell raced untouched for a 32-yard TD to tie it, UK took charge. Raymond Sanders fumbled after a nice run but Demarco Robinson recovered it in the end zone for a TD. Whitlow hit Alexander Montgomery for a 6-yard TD and 21-7 lead. Jojo Kemp ran 7 yards for a TD on the first play after Josh Forrest blocked a punt.

Halftime: Kentucky 31, Alabama State 7.

Thumbs up: UK averaged 7.9 yards per play.

Thumbs down: Montgomery getting injured in a TD celebration leap and fellow receiver Javess Blue getting injured during warm-ups.

Worthy of a replay: Whitlow reversed field on his 88-yard TD run, the longest in Commonwealth Stadium history.Second half

Summary: Mister Cobble recovered a fumble at the Alabama State 15-yard line and Joe Mansour's 29-yard field goal made it 34-7. Other than Crowell, the Alabama State offense struggled to get anything going against Kentucky. A 2-yard TD run by Whitlow made it 41-7 with 7:10 left in the third. Steven Borden caught his first TD as a Wildcat, a 38-yard hookup with Whitlow. With the score 48-7 and 3:41 left in the third, much of the crowd exited.

Final: Kentucky 48, Alabama State 14

Thumbs up: Whitlow ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns, and passed for 186 and two scores.

Thumbs down: Injuries kept mounting.

Worthy of a replay: Perfect strike from Whitlow when he hit Borden in stride for the TD.Talking points

■ Who cares if it was Alabama State? Kentucky needed a win.

■ Was enough momentum and/or confidence gained for UK to pull an upset with four remaining SEC games?

■ Not sure Whitlow is the perfect fit for an Air Raid-type passing game, but he's an athlete who can make plays.

■ Progress can come in small steps, and the UK defense might be taking them.

Numbers don't lie

■ This was the first time UK led in a game since Sept. 7 against Miami (Ohio).

■ It looked like these teams did not like each other. Alabama State had four personal fouls in the first quarter.

■ There were six fumbles in the first half, only one recovered by the defense.

■ In the first half, Whitlow ran for 99 yards and threw for 79.

■ Whitlow became the first UK quarterback to run and pass for two touchdowns since Shane Boyd in 2004.

■ Kentucky continued to take care of the ball. The Wildcats extended their streak of games without a turnover to four.

Looking ahead

Tenth-ranked Missouri, one's of the nation's big surprises and a 31-3 winner over Tennessee on Saturday, visits Commonwealth Stadium this week.

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader