There would be no upset or comeback attempt for Tennessee against Alabama. That’s what happens when you’re facing a 30-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
Alabama ran all over the Tennessee defense and prevented the Volunteers from doing the same in a 49-10 win. And if we’re taking Alabama’s offense out of the equation it would still be a win for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama scored off an interception return and a punt return for its 10th and 11th non-offensive touchdowns of the season while Tennessee got just one touchdown and it was thanks to an incredibly short field.
The No. 1 Crimson Tide entered the game with the nation’s No. 1 rushing defense. Given that the strength of the Tennessee offense is quarterback Josh Dobbs’ running ability and running backs Alvin Kamara and Jalen Hurd, the Volunteers needed to crack the Alabama defensive front to have any shot.
There were no cracks. The No. 9 Volunteers rushed for 30 yards on 27 carries, or 39 yards below Alabama’s average yards allowed entering the game. If Tennessee can’t run on Alabama, is there anyone in the country who can?
The inability for the Vols to sustain a drive was detrimental. Tennessee’s only touchdown of the day came when Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts fumbled inside the 20 when he was sacked. UT had to cover just 11 yards for the score.
When the field was more than 11 yards long, the struggle was quite real. The Vols had 158 total yards of offense and averaged a mere 2.5 yards per play. There was no room to run or any time to pass for Dobbs and the Volunteers’ best drive of the day was a 10-play, 49-yard effort that resulted in a field goal.
Meanwhile, Alabama ran for 438 yards. Hurts scored three times while Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough made the lopsided loss a blowout in the fourth quarter with an 85-yard touchdown run. And then he showed a fan in the end zone the logo on his glove.
It’s the 10th-straight win for Alabama over Tennessee and the first time the Tide had run for over 400 yards since a 1992 win over Tulane. If you add in Texas A&M’s 353 yards last week, the Volunteers have given up an astounding 771 yards rushing in the past two weeks.
Speaking of the Aggies, A&M is Alabama’s next opponent and the one most likely (at this point) to knock Alabama from the ranks of the undefeated. If Texas A&M can’t beat Alabama next week in Tuscaloosa, the Tide are close to a sure thing for the SEC West title and a virtual play-in game for the College Football Playoff. While the Tide don’t have a star running back this year, Hurts’ running ability and the awesomeness of the front seven may make this the most complete Alabama team since 2012 or maybe even 2009.
Tennessee, meanwhile, gets a much-needed bye week to regroup before playing five unranked teams to end the season. With Florida yet to face Georgia and LSU — among others — to end the season, there’s a pretty good shot we’ll see a rematch of Saturday in the SEC championship game.
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