SATURDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2016
Photos by Kendall Webb
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — In the end, only one team in the Alabama-Tennessee game held up its end of the bargain.
The heavily-hyped matchup was advertised as a potential preview of the SEC Championship Game to be played in December. It still may be, but that game will be played on a neutral field.
Saturday’s game, on the other hand, was played in the friendly confines of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium where the host Volunteers were still thrashed soundly in a 49-10 beatdown. Yeah, if that’s the preview, then maybe we should go ahead and hand the SEC Championship Trophy to Alabama right now and spare us all the bloody details of a rematch.
Because this was ugly.
Consider at the half that Alabama had 309 yards to Tennessee’s 41. It didn’t get much better by the end of the game as the Crimson Tide outgained the Volunteers 466-143. Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts continued to be the catalyst for the Tide offense leading the team with 132 yards rushing and three touchdowns on just 12 carries. Bo Scarbrough added 109 yards and a touchdown on just five carries as Alabama averaged 8.5 yards per rush.
Try 0.7 yards per carry as the Vols ran the ball 27 times for a net of just 20 yards.
Injuries continued to play a role in Tennessee’s story as two more offensive linemen went down for a total of four starters missing upfront. With Tennessee running out of players, Alabama thoroughly dominated in the trenches on both sides of the ball, and by the fourth quarter, the Volunteers were mostly spectators watching the rout alongside their fans.
The good news for Tennessee is that all of the hardest games are out of the way, and they hold a head-to-head advantage over Florida, the only team likely to challenge them for the SEC East title. The Vols have a bye week before returning to action on Saturday, October 29, at South Carolina.
Alabama’s toughest matchups are still on the schedule starting with Saturday’s home date vs. Texas A&M. You’d be hard-pressed to find an analyst anywhere, however, who hasn’t already penned in Alabama’s name at the top of his or her College Football Playoff bracket.
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