Alabama showed again why it is the No. 1 team in college football with a dominant 49-10 road win Saturday over No. 9 Tennessee.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts was the star of the day for the Crimson Tide, making strong throws throughout the day but making an even bigger impact with his legs. He finished with 132 rushing yards and three touchdowns to go with his 143 passing yards.
Travis Haney of 104.5 The Zone summed up the thoughts while watching the young player:
Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough also finished with over 90 rushing yards each on the day.
Meanwhile, the Alabama defense was simply dominant from start to finish, holding Joshua Dobbs in check. The Tennessee quarterback managed only 92 passing yards on 27 attempts, while a handful of sacks caused him to finish with minus-31 rushing yards in the game.
The Crimson Tide finished with 594 total yards of offense compared to 158 for the Volunteers, including a 438-27 advantage on the ground.
Brett McMurphy of ESPN joked about the all-around dominance from Alabama:
This is the team’s 10th straight win over Tennessee as well as the 19th straight win overall, matching a record under head coach Nick Saban.
This matchup was expected to be a good one with two top teams and a tough environment. The action appeared close early on with both defenses showing up for the first few drives. It took until the end of the first quarter for Alabama to finally break the scoreless tie by using a bit of trickery.
Receiver ArDarius Stewart got the ball on a reverse and followed his blockers 29 yards into the end zone:
A few minutes later, it was Alabama’s defense that made a play as Ronnie Harrison picked off an attempted screen pass and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown.
This was the 10th non-offensive touchdown of the year for the Tide defense and the ninth consecutive game with this type of score, per Jon Solomon of CBS Sports. They added their 11th touchdown of this nature later in the game when Eddie Jackson returned a punt 79 yards for a score.
Ben Jones of the Tuscaloosa News broke down just how dominant the Alabama defense was in the first quarter:
It took a big play from the Tennessee defense to get back into the game. Defensive end Derek Barnett forced a fumble on his sack on Hurts, leading to this proclamation from Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports:
Two runs from Alvin Kamara later and the Volunteers were able to cut the lead in half to 14-7.
Still, the Crimson Tide were not easy to stop, especially with Hurts showcasing his incredible speed. The quarterback went untouched down the right side 45 yards for his first score of the day.
He continued his playmaking ability with more big runs before the end of the first half to consistently move the football.
Peter Burns of ESPN broke down the player’s value:
Despite the one-sided play, Alabama could only go into halftime up 21-7 thanks to a missed field goal right before intermission. Barnett also bailed out Tennessee with an interception deep in his own territory to keep Alabama out of the end zone.
The visitors had 309 yards of offense compared to just 41 for the Vols, but two turnovers kept it competitive after two quarters.
While Tennessee had made a habit of overcoming big deficits to this point in the year, that would not be the case Saturday.
Hurts’ rushing ability was once again on display in the second half when he scored his second touchdown of the day on a two-yard run to the corner. Bleacher Report’s Sanjay Kirpalani praised the dynamic runner:
After Tennessee kicked a field goal to cut the lead to 28-10, Hurts followed it up once again with another rushing score, this one on a one-yard scramble into the end zone.
Jackson then truly made it a rout by returning a punt for a touchdown, extending the lead to 42-10 in the fourth quarter, via SEC on CBS:
Scarbrough then added to the embarrassment with an 85-yard rushing touchdown on the next possession.
The Tide were sloppy in the first half, but they never let up in the second half to earn a dominant 39-point victory on the road.
As good as Alabama has looked, it will be tested once again next Saturday while hosting No. 6 Texas A&M as part of a grueling middle of the schedule for the Tide.
Tennessee is fortunately done with its SEC West competition and will have a week off before going on the road to face South Carolina. Thanks to their strong start to the season, the Volunteers have a chance to contend for a division title in the SEC East.
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Source: Bleacher Report -SEC Football