Going into Tuscaloosa and bringing out a win was already going to be a tough task for this Kentucky football team. The hill to climb looks even more insurmountable as we reach game day.
Kyle Tucker of the Athletic tweeted late Friday evening that as many as 16 Cats will be held out of today's contest with Alabama because of COVID and other injuries.
Per source: Kentucky football could be without as many as 16 players tomorrow at No. 1 Alabama due to a combination of injuries and COVID issues. Long odds get much longer.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) November 21, 2020
Kentucky Sports Radio's Matt Jones revealed a number of integral players would be out, including RB Chris Rodriguez, LB Jamin Davis and TE Justin Rigg. Justin Rowland of Rivals and Cats Illustrated confirmed these missing pieces too.
Can confirm on my end https://t.co/qW657MgffO— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) November 21, 2020
A number of key players were already expected to be out, such as P Max Duffy and K Matt Ruffolo - who both missed the Vanderbilt game presumably due to COVID/contact tracing - or expected to eventually be ruled out, like G Luke Fortner and G Kenneth Horsey, among others.
The thinnest position groups for the game will reportedly be tight end and linebacker, according to Jones. Kentucky plays a 3-4 defense, so any less than four available linebackers - two inside, two outside - would be extremely problematic.
The Cats are currently scheduled to play the Crimson Tide at 4:00 p.m. ET today. The game will be aired on SEC network.
UPDATE: Kentucky's official media partner, UK Sports Network, has released the full inactive list for today's game.
Overall, the Cats are missing three inside linebackers (J. Davis, T. Davis, Jackson), two tight ends (Rigg, Bates), two defensive backs (Brown, Dodson), along with their punter (Duffy), left guard (Fortner) and best running back (Rodriguez).
Players not available for the game at Alabama; Jamin DavisChris RodriguezJustin RiggMax DuffyLuke FortnerD'Eryk Jackson Torrance DavisTaj Dodson Jamari Brown Brendan BatesTune into the @donfranklinauto CTK now to find out what it means Link: https://t.co/nefDjbj6XY— UK Sports Network (@UKSportsNetwork) November 21, 2020
Kenneth Horsey and Matt Ruffolo were expected to be on this list, but appear to be active. Kickoff is set for 4:00 p.m.