Coming off their first SEC win of the season, a 20-10 defensive slobberknocker against Mississippi State, Tennessee (2-4, 1-2 SEC) will travel to Tuscaloosa to face No. 1 Alabama (6-0, 3-0 SEC).
A concussion knocked out Tennessee quarterback Brian Maurer last week’s game. However, Tennessee’s coach Jeremy Pruitt expects Maurer to be available against Alabama.
It was a mixed bag for Maurer in his second career start. The true freshman threw for 61 yards and was the Vols’ leading rusher with 41 yards before he was pulled from the game.
However, he also made a couple poor choices in the red zone that led to two end zone picks.
Tennessee’s first SEC win may have come at the worst time for the Vols.
With the Alabama team loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, it will be very difficult for Tennessee to continue their hot streak.
Alabama’s offense is led by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and wide receiver Jerry Jeudy. The two make the offense a high powered machine. Therefore, Tennessee will need to scheme up a way to keep Tagovailoa and Jeudy off the field.
“Just don’t give them the ball,” Pruitt said on Tennessee’s game plan at Monday’s press conference.
Tagovailoa threw for almost 300 yards while the Crimson Tide put up another 155 yards on the ground. Tennessee’s defense gave up just 267 total yards to Mississippi State, but the Vols will need to have a near-perfect game defensively to contain this Alabama offense.
Though Alabama’s defense has no lack of talented players, the Crimson Tide allowed Texas A&M to put up 389 total yards. The mobile Maurer may be able to take advantage of some of Alabama’s defensive holes with both his arm and his legs.
Traveling to Tuscaloosa to play the top ranked team in the country on their home turf will undoubtedly prove to be Tennessee’s toughest test of the year. The Crimson Tide was favored by a whopping 37 points as of Saturday afternoon.
Christian Knox, sports editor – Alabama 41, Tennessee 17
Tennessee will play well on both sides of the ball in Tuscaloosa, but that will not nearly be enough against this stacked Alabama team. Maurer will move the ball, but he will also make some critical mistakes that will keep Tennessee from being competitive in this one.
Dusty Bryan, assistant sports editor – Alabama 45, Tennessee 27
Coming off a big win, Tennessee will go into Tuscaloosa with swagger. However, Tagovailoa and Alabama’s loaded receiver corps will prove too much for the Vols to overcome.
Game Time and Coverage
Kickoff in Tuscaloosa is slated for 9 p.m. EST on Saturday. The game will air on ESPN. Additionally, TNJN will have more coverage on Tennessee vs. Alabama following the game.
Featured image by Ben Gleason
Edited by Ciera Noe and Grace Goodacre