[title_box title=”Alabama edges Tennessee in Tuscaloosa, 19-14″]
In a defensive battle where both teams missed numerous opportunities, Alabama edged Tennessee 19-14 to win their ninth consecutive game against the Vols.
After Alabama star running back Derrick Henry scored on a 14-yard touchdown run to give the Crimson Tide the 19-14 lead, the Vols had an opportunity to win the game, but quarterback Josh Dobbs was sacked, resulting in a fumble recovered by Alabama.
Both teams struggled to convert on opportunities. While the Vols missed three field goals, the Crimson Tide dropped three interceptions. Dobbs finished the game with 171 passing yards and a touchdown, while rushing for only 19 yards on 16 carries.
After a missed field goal on their opening drive, the Vols allowed the Crimson Tide to score on their first possession, culminating in a 20-yard scamper by Henry. Henry finished the contest with 143 yards and two scores.
The Vols responded nicely, as they built on the success of their first drive, putting together a combination of nice runs and accurate passes. On a third down rollout to his left, Dobbs found Josh Smith in the back corner of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 7-7.
The next two quarters were grueling for both offenses, as both defensive lines pressured opposing quarterbacks. The Vols defensive line had one of their strongest performances of the season, sacking Alabama quarterback Jake Coker five times. Alabama (7-1, 4-1) also finished the game with five sacks.
The Vols defense limited the Crimson Tide’s rushing attack, even outgaining the Crimson Tide on the ground 132-117 and averaging more yards per carry (3.4 to 2.8).
After two Alabama field goals caused the Vols to trail 13-7 in the fourth quarter, the Vols’ offense quickly responded with a four-play, 75-yard touchdown drive capped off by a 12-yard run by Jalen Hurd. The 14-13 lead was the Vols first second half lead against the Crimson Tide since 2006; the last year they beat Alabama.
Alabama responded with a number of clutch plays, including an amazing 29-yard catch by wide receiver ArDarius Stewart, as well as a third-down conversion to wide receiver Calvin Ridley. Both Stewart and Ridley led both teams with 88 receiving yards, while running back Alvin Kamara led all Vols with 44 receiving yards.
With the loss, the Vols (3-4, 1-3) have not defeated Alabama since 2006, a top 10 team since 2006, nor an SEC West opponent since 2010. On defense, the Vols were led by junior defensive end Corey Vereen, who finished with five tackles and two sacks. On offense, Hurd ran for 92 yards on only 18 carries.
The Vols face the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington next Saturday.
Featured image by Ben Ozburn
Edited by Cody McClure