Jalen Milroe has 6 total TDs as No. 8 Alabama clinches SEC West in easy win over Kentucky

Jalen Milroe became the first Alabama player to rush for three touchdowns and pass for three scores as the No. 8 Crimson Tide clinched the SEC West on Saturday.

Alabama (9-1, 7-0 SEC) easily beat Kentucky, 49-21, to ensure a spot in the SEC championship game against No. 1 Georgia on Dec. 2.

The Tide led 21-0 early in the first half and had it easy the rest of the way. Milroe completed his first seven passes and the seventh was a 40-yard TD to Kobe Prentice that gave Alabama a 14-0 lead.

After rushing for four touchdowns in Alabama’s 42-28 win over LSU, Milroe threw for 240 yards and rushed for 33 more against the Wildcats. After he snuck the ball into the end zone just seconds into the fourth quarter, Milroe got to take the rest of the game off as backup QB Ty Simpson took over.

Milroe has emerged as one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC over the second half of the season following a rocky start. He didn’t play at all against South Florida following two interceptions in a Week 2 loss to Texas, but he has improved after regaining his starting job in Week 4.

That improvement has been evident over the last three games. After close wins over Texas A&M and Arkansas, the Tide beat Tennessee, 34-20, before beating LSU by two touchdowns.

Milroe has accounted for 12 touchdowns over those three games and has completed at least 65% of his passes in all of them.

He’s a big reason why Alabama is a still a contender for the College Football Playoff. The Crimson Tide look Georgia’s equal given Milroe’s recent play. It’s easy to envision a scenario where Alabama beats Chattanooga and Auburn to end the regular season before beating Georgia in the SEC title game and making the playoff at 12-1.

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - NOVEMBER 11: Jalen Milroe #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Kentucky Wildcats at Kroger Field on November 11, 2023 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Jalen Milroe threw for three TDs and rushed for three more in Alabama's 49-21 win over Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Kentucky’s disappointing season continues

The Wildcats entered the season looking to challenge for best-of-the-rest status in the East with the addition of former NC State QB Devin Leary via transfer.

Instead, Kentucky has lost four of its last five games to drop to 6-4 after a 5-0 start. And while all four of those defeats have been to teams ranked in the top 15 of the College Football Playoff rankings, just one has been close. That was a 33-27 loss to No. 13 Tennessee in a game that Kentucky never led.

The other three — Georgia, Missouri and Alabama — were lost by a combined 83 points. Kentucky never scored more than 21 points in any of those three games as the offense simply looked overmatched. Leary was 17-of-31 passing for 158 yards and a TD and an interception on Saturday. He threw for 248 yards combined in the losses to Georgia and Missouri.

The ranked gauntlet isn’t over yet, either. Kentucky visits South Carolina in Week 12 before ending the season at No. 11 Louisville.