No. 1 Alabama Football Flattens Tennessee, 45-7, in 100th Meeting
The top-ranked University of Alabama football team outgained Tennessee 604-108 in its 45-7 win Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium. It was the Crimson Tide’s third game this season with over 600 yards of total offense.
Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) won its 11th straight game over the Volunteers (3-4, 0-4 SEC) in the 100th meeting between the two programs.
The Alabama offense used eight different ball carriers to amass 272 rushing yards. The rushing attack was led by junior running back Damien Harris who had a game-high 72 yards and a touchdown, while junior running back Bo Scarbrough finished the game with two scores on the ground. Sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts went 13-of-21 for 198 yards and one touchdown through the air, while junior wide receiver Calvin Ridley paced all wideouts with a game-high eight receptions for 82 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, senior defensive back Levi Wallace had a career-high two sacks to go along with a career-high six tackles. Junior defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs led the defense with a team-high seven tackles, while senior defensive back Hootie Jones tied a career-high with six tackles. Senior linebacker Rashaan Evans was also outstanding, with six tackles, including a sack and two tackles-for-loss.
Tennessee began the game with a three-and-out, while the Alabama offense methodically went 63 yards on 12 plays on its first drive before Scarbrough dove across the goal line on fourth down at the UT one-yard line to get the Crimson Tide on the board. After senior placekicker Andy Pappanastos converted the extra point, UA led 7-0 with 8:21 remaining in the opening quarter.
After the Alabama touchdown, both defenses buckled down with the Vols punting three times and the Tide punting twice before putting together its second scoring drive. With the ball at its own 15-yard line, the Crimson Tide rumbled 85 yards on 15 plays, finishing the drive with Scarbrough once again diving over the goal line on fourth down from the UT one-yard line. Following Pappanastos’ extra point, Alabama held the 14-0 advantage with 4:48 left in the half.
The Tide defense forced another Volunteers three-and-out to setup for its next drive at its own 23-yard line. Alabama only needed 2:01 and six plays to drive 77 yards, capped off by Harris slipping through the middle for an 11-yard touchdown run. After the Pappanastos PAT, the Tide led 21-0 with 1:18 remaining in the half.
Alabama outgained Tennessee, 252-66 in the opening half. The stingy Crimson Tide defense has yet to allow a touchdown in the first half of a Southeastern Conference game this season.
The Tide opened up the second half by going 77 yards on eight plays, finishing with Hurts finding sophomore tight end Irv Smith Jr. wide open across the middle for his first career touchdown reception from 14 yards out. Pappanastos converted on the PAT to push the UA lead to 28-0 with 12:39 left in the third quarter.
Tennessee’s fourth three-and-out of the game set the Tide up at its own 22-yard line where freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa took over the offense. Tagovailoa drove the Crimson Tide down to the UT five-yard line before his pass was intercepted at the three-yard line and returned for 97 yards for a touchdown to cut the Tide lead to 28-7 with 6:03 left in the third quarter.
On the ensuing drive, Tagovailoa bounced back by leading Alabama down the field in eight plays, netting 52 yards to set up a 25-yard Pappanastos field goal, extending the Tide lead to 31-7 with 3:13 remaining in the third quarter.
After another Tennessee punt, Alabama used seven plays to go 77 yards, including an incredible third down 14-yard toe-dragging catch on the sideline by senior wide receiver Cam Sims to keep the drive alive. Two plays later, Tagovailoa sprinted up the middle for the first rushing touchdown of his career from 23-yards out. Following the Pappanastos extra point, the Tide held a 38-7 advantage with 12:59 left in the game.
Following a Tide fumble on a punt return, UT took over from the Alabama 20-yard line and were facing a fourth-and-goal from the five-yard line when sophomore Mack Wilson picked off a pass attempt at the two-yard line and took it back 21 yards to keep the score at 38-7. With the interception, Alabama has caused a turnover in 35-straight games.
The Alabama offense struck again after the interception when Tagovailoa found freshman wide receiver Henry Ruggs III for a 60-yard touchdown strike. Ruggs III now has five receptions on the year, all of which have gone for touchdowns. After the Pappanastos point after, the Tide led 45-7 with 4:49 left in the game.
Alabama returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 4 against No. 24 LSU at Bryant-Denny Stadium following the Tide’s bye week. Kickoff has yet to be announced.