Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0, 5-0 SEC) extended their win streak to 11 straight over Butch Jones and the Tennessee Volunteers (3-4, 0-4 SEC) on Saturday. With the Tide’s beatdown, the Vols have now been out-scored a remarkable 192- 61 in the Jones era.
Here are the five biggest takeaways from Saturday’s beatdown.
1. Jarrett Guarantano was doing his best
No blame at all can be put on Guarantano for his performance on Saturday. In fact, he was one of the few bright spots for Tennessee in Tuscaloosa. Guarantano was sacked four times and hurried eight times on Saturday, and he looked completely handcuffed by the Vols poor offensive scheming. For the majority of the game Guarantano was running for his life, and without his mobility it could have been much worse for Tennessee. With no help from the offensive line, Guarantano went 9-of-16 for 44 yards and an interception against Alabama.
2. Tennessee’s defense is stout
The biggest bright spot for the Volunteers on Saturday was defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and the Tennessee defense. The defense provided a breath of fresh air for fans, but they once again suffered from the inefficiency of the offense. The Vols defense was on the field for 35 out of 60 total minutes of the game, thus allowing them to give up over 600 total yards to Alabama. Overall, the Tennessee defense was clearly not the problem and has appeared to improve exponentially since the start of the season.
3. Rashaan Gaulden is everywhere
I suppose this is a double-entendre, Gaulden was everywhere on social media after his antics on the Vols only touchdown of the game. However, Gaulden seemed to be everywhere on defense. He registered just two tackles, but Gaulden also defended two passes and seemed to be in the middle of every play. The junior defensive back from Spring Hill, Tenn. seems to be making himself a household name in 2017. Listen for Gaulden’s name to be called a ton in the back half of the Tennessee schedule.
4. Tennessee plagued by injuries
Once again, the Volunteers are having injury problems going into the back half of the schedule. This has seemingly become an annual event for Tennessee as they can’t seem to keep a healthy team. Over 14 players have been injured, sick or suspended since the start of the season, with seven of them being out for the remainder of the season. This is extremely troubling for the Vols from a depth standpoint. Tennessee could clearly hang with Alabama on defense in the first half. However, when the second half came around the Vols ran out of gas from lack of depth.
5. Alabama is a cheat code
Very rarely do you see college football teams that have no weakness, but Saban has once again assembled a near-perfect team. The depth and talent of the Crimson Tide roster is unlike anything college football has ever seen. Just from a depth standpoint, Alabama will surely make a trip back to the College Football Playoffs. The Crimson Tide are head-and-shoulders above any team in the SEC, and appear to be far better than the No. 2 team in the nation. The Saban dynasty is flourishing, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
Edited by Ben McKee
Featured image courtesy of UT Sports