Kentucky 40, No. 20 Alabama 34, OT
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) _ Tim Couch completed a 26-yard touchdown pass to Craig Yeast in overtime and Kentucky defeated Alabama for the first time in 75 years, stunning 20th-ranked Crimson Tide 40-34 on Saturday night.
On third-and-11 at the 26, Yeast caught a pass at the 10 and dashed to the end zone. Fans charged onto the Commonwealth Stadium field to congratulate the players and then pulled down both goal posts.
Kentucky (3-2, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) recorded just its second victory over Alabama (3-2, 1-2) in the 34-game series. The Wildcats won 6-0 in 1922, battled to a 7-7 tie in 1939, and then lost the next 14 meetings to trail 31-1-1 in the series going into Saturday night’s game.
Kentucky won the toss in overtime, and decided to defend on the first possession. A holding call on first down took Alabama back to the 37, out of field goal range, and three plays later Chad Goss fumbled Freddie Kitchens’ pass at the 21 and Kentucky’s Tremayne Martin recovered.
Kentucky also had a holding penalty on its possession, setting up a second-and-15 from the 30. Couch completed a 4-yard pass to Darrin Clark before hitting Yeast with the game-winner.
Kentucky took a 34-31 lead when Anwar Stewart returned a blocked field goal 68 yards with 6:54 remaining in the fourth quarter. David Ginn blocked Brian Cunningham’s 44-yard attempt, Stewart grabbed it in the air and raced untouched for the touchdown.
Alabama then had a 15-play, 67-yard drive that ended with Cunningham’s 37-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.
Couch completed 32-of-49 passes for 355 yards, including touchdown passes of 62 yards to Derek Homer in the first quarter and 6 yards to Anthony White and 14 yards to Kevin Coleman in the third period. He had three passes intercepted.
In just his fifth game, Couch snapped Bill Ransdell’s school record of 151 completions, set in 1986. Couch has 164.
White ran 15 times for 117 yards and caught six passes for 55 as Kentucky gained 457 yards.
Kitchens connected on 13-of-24 for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Curtis Alexander rushed 15 times for 120 yards as Alabama had 410 yards.
Couch’s TD pass to Coleman gave Kentucky a 27-17 lead with 5:15 remaining in the third quarter.
Alabama came back on its next possession, with Goss passing to Quincy Jackson on a reverse for a 40-yard TD to slice the margin to three points with 2:56 left.
Kentucky, which had lost 12 straight games to ranked opponents, then appeared ready to lose another game to the Crimson Tide.
Punting on fourth-and-10 at the 50, the snap sailed over Jimmy Carter’s head and was recovered by Alabama’s Tim Bowens at the 16. Five plays later, on second-and-goal from the 6, Kitchens completed a shovel pass to Alexander for a 31-27 lead with 13:25 left in the fourth quarter.
Kentucky’s Seth Hanson also kicked field goals of 30 yards in the first quarter and second quarter. Alexander ran 58 yards for a touchdown and Goss caught a 34-yard TD pass as Alabama held a 14-13 halftime advantage.
Cunningham’s 41-yard field goal with 10:56 remaining in the third quarter gave Alabama a 17-13 lead.