Tennessee had an upset on the mind, but Alabama had other ideas.
The shorthanded Vols were unable to dig out of an early hole as Alabama picked up a 49-10 victory on Saturday in Neyland Stadium.
“It’s a pretty simple game,” Tennessee Head Coach Butch Jones said. “It’s a line of scrimmage game. When you give up 438 yards rushing and offensively have 32 yards rushing, you’re not even giving yourself an opportunity to be in the game. We had way too many negative yardage football plays.”
As many as 10 Tennessee starters were out during the game due to injury.
“Our kids are fighting, scratching and clawing,” Jones said. “I told them I love them more today than yesterday. I’ve never been through a season like this where the injuries just continue to mount up, but that’s the game of football and that’s recruiting and that’s development. That’s having a solid program, and that’s everyone that’s awaiting their time and when their opportunity comes to play you make the most of it.”
Alabama jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but Tennessee pulled within seven in the second quarter after forcing a turnover in Crimson Tide territory. Derek Barnett got around the edge and forced a fumble by quarterback Jalen Hurts. Quay Picou recovered the ball to set the Vols up at Alabama’s 11-yard line. Two plays later, Alvin Kamara rushed seven yards up the middle on a read-option play to bring the score to 14-7.
Alabama responded after Tennessee’s score as Hurts held the ball on a read-option and took it 45 yards off the right side for an Alabama score.
“They did a good job of creating one-on-one matchups for him,” Jones said of Hurts. “He did a good job of moving the ball laterally and puncturing the defense. We had way too many missed tackles. I give them credit. They have a very good offensive line. We pride ourselves in stopping the run, and that was unacceptable.”
Tennessee kept Alabama off the scoreboard twice near the end of the second quarter as Shy Tuttle deflected a pass by Hurts and Barnett caught the ball for the first interception of his career. After a UT punt, Alabama drove the ball into field goal position, but Adam Griffith missed a 37-yarder as time expired, keeping the score at 21-7 entering halftime.
Alabama added another score on their second possession of the third quarter. The Crimson Tide traveled 51 yards in five plays as Hurts hit Stewart on a 23-yard crossing pattern and followed that with a 21-yard rush to the right, before punching it into the end zone from two yards out on a sweep to the right.
Aaron Medley chipped into the deficit with a 37-yard field goal to make the score 28-10 at the 4:03 mark of the third quarter.
From there, it was all Alabama as the Crimson Tide reeled off 21 unanswered points – including a special teams touchdown on an Eddie Jackson punt return.
As a team, Alabama outgained Tennessee 594-163.
Hurd had 28 yards rushing on 13 carries, while Kamara had 21 yards on eight carries.
Dobbs finished 16-of-27 for 92 yards in the game.
Hurts had 132 yards on 12 carries in addition to going 16-of-26 passing for 143 yards. The freshman accounted for five touchdowns.
Tennessee will now enter the bye week before traveling to South Carolina on Oct. 29.