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Coffee runs No. 2 Bama past Kentucky, 17-14

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. | Glen Coffee rushed for 218 yards, Leigh Tiffin kicked a 24-yard field goal with 2:12 left and No. 2 Alabama held on for a 17-14 win over Kentucky on Saturday.

Playing with its best national ranking in 15 years, the Crimson Tide survived three turnovers and a sputtering passing game a week after racing to a 31-0 halftime lead at Georgia.

Coffee and the Crimson Tide (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) mounted a bruising 15-play drive from their own 17-yard line to set up the clinching field goal. Coffee gained 57 yards on nine carries on the drive, which consumed 8:10.

Tiffin, who had missed two earlier kicks, drilled this one for a 17-7 lead, and the points proved necessary.

Mike Hartline hit DeMoreo Ford streaking down the right sideline for a 48-yard touchdown pass with 40 seconds left for the Wildcats (4-1, 0-1). The blown pass coverage had Alabama coach Nick Saban fuming on the sideline over another mistake in a day full of them for the Tide.

Kentucky's onside kick attempt went out of bounds to give Alabama the ball and the game.

The Tide's final scoring chance came after Coffee nearly lost his second fumble inside the Kentucky 10, but the ball dribbled out of bounds after the Wildcats had a clear shot to recover and Alabama kept possession.

'Bama continued to dominate the series, moving to 34-2-1 overall and 20-0-1 in the state of Alabama. Kentucky was looking for its second huge upset in two seasons after beating No. 1 LSU in triple overtime last season.

Coffee had 25 carries, including a 78-yard touchdown, for the best rushing output for a 'Bama back since Shaun Alexander gained a school-record 291 yards against LSU in 1996. Kentucky came in allowing just 73 rushing yards a game and hadn't given up a TD on the ground.

The Tide ran for 282 yards.

Hartline was 20-of-42 for 241 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. Alabama's John Parker Wilson was just 7-of-17 for 106 yards and was intercepted once and sacked three times.

Outgained 253-60 in the first half, the Wildcats forced two turnovers in the third quarter and made it look easy on their first scoring drive.

Hartline dumped a pass over the middle to Locke, who scampered for a 36-yard gain. Dicky Lyons Jr. took a short slant pattern 26 yards for a touchdown on the next play to make it 14-7 with 5:49 left in the third quarter.

Hartline had just 66 yards passing before that drive, and Kentucky had gone three-and-out on five consecutive possessions.

Kareem Jackson then picked off Hartline's underthrown pass after the Wildcats pushed across midfield.

The Tide had continued its string of fast starts, pushing its season first quarter advantage to 88-0 with a pair of touchdowns for the team's only points until the final minutes.

Coffee raced 78 yards up the middle, going virtually untouched and managing to just outdistance Kentucky's pursuing defenders. Then Hartline lost control of ball as he was cocking his arm for a throw and Rolando McClain scooped it up at Kentucky's 4 for a touchdown, the third scored by Alabama's defense this season.

It could have been worse but Tiffin missed a field goal, Coffee lost a fumble at Kentucky's 6 and the Tide failed to score on two other trips across midfield in the first half.

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