Tide rolls to 14th straight win over Tennessee, 48-17

103rd meeting in this storied rivalry
Published: Oct. 24, 2020 at 3:39 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Tennessee Vols and 2nd ranked Alabama Crimson Tide are going at it inside Neyland Stadium, a game you can watch live on WVLT. The opening kickoff was returned by Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle, who suffered a serious leg injury on the play. He would leave the game and be taken to the locker room. Mac Jones and the Bama offense would pick up a couple first downs before the Vols defense finally stiffened forcing a Crimson Tide punt.

Tennessee would start it’s first drive from their own 9 yard line and pick up an immediate first down on a pass from starting quarterback Jarrett Guarantano to Josh palmer, but the drive wood stall after that forcing a Paxton Brooks punt.

On it’s second possession Alabama would waste no time getting down to business. Replacing Jaylen Waddle was RS Soph. receiver Slade Bolden and he’d catch a deep pass from Mac Jones. The Bama QB would also include Najee Harris and Devonta Smith on pass plays eventually leading to a one yard touchdown run by Harris. Alabama takes a 7-0 lead over the Vols at Neyland Stadium with 7:40 left to go in the first quarter.

Tennessee’s second possession would start just shy of their own 30 yard line. The Vols would try to establish the run on first and second down. Minimal gains would lead to a third down pass by Guarantano which was incomplete forcing Tennessee’s second punt of the afternoon.

Alabama’s next possession would begin with a long pass from Mac Jones to John Metchie III. From there, it was the more physical Crimson Tide rolling through the defense capped off by a one yard Mac Jones touchdown run. Bama takes a 14-0 lead over the Vols at Neyland Stadium.

One other Alabama note, receiver Jaylen Waddle, who was injured on the opening kickoff, has left the stadium taken by ambulance to the hospital.

The Vols would finally mount a charge and drive deep into Alabama territory, but on 4th and two at about the Bama 15 coach Jeremy Pruitt decides to kick the field goal. Brent Cimaglia knocks it through cutting the Alabama lead to 14-3.

On it’s throughout most of the first half, the Tennessee defense would continue to struggle against a physical Bama offensive line which would clear the way for a seven yard Brian Robinson Jr. touchdown run. Point after was good giving the 2nd ranked crimson Tide a 21-3 lead over the Volunteers with 8:12 remaining in the first half.

The Vols would answer Bama’s third touchdown with a touchdown scoring drive of their own. Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano keeps the drive alive by running for a first down on third and seven. JG would then Jalin Hyatt with a 38 yard TD pass. Point after was good making it 21-10 Alabama. Hyatt is one of 17 true freshmen who have played so far this season heading into the contest with the Crimson Tide.

That drive for Tennessee covered 75 yards, well, Alabama waisted no time in covering that distance for yet another first half touchdown. The big play was a long pass completion to John Metchie into double coverage by Tennessee. That would set up the Tide inside the UT five yard line and from there it would be Najee Harris walking in for his second touchdown of the game. Bama extends its lead to 28-10 with 4:04 remaining in the second quarter.

That would be it for the scoring in the first half with the Crimson Tide taking an 18 point lead into the locker room.

Seven turnovers in the last two games have led to 21 points by UT opponents. Well, make it 28 points off 8 turnovers. Vols get the ball to start the second half and sophomore running back Eric Gray is stripped of the ball. it’s scooped up by Malachi Moore who returns it 28 yards for the touchdown. Alabama jumps out to a 35-10 lead at Neyland Stadium early in the 3rd quarter.

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones is now 23 of 28 for 370 yards passing. He leads the Tide back down the field and Najee Harris walks in untouched from a yard out. Alabama builds a 42-10 lead. The Crimson Tide with 501 yards of total offense in the game.

Tennessee would respond through the air. Guarantano fires deep and hit’s Jalin Hyatt, who would have scored if not for just stepping out of bounds. Didn’t matter as on the next play JG goes back up top and hits senior Josh palmer in the end zone. Point after is good as the Vols cut into the Bama lead making it 42-17. Guarantano is now 10 of 17 for 157 yards and two touchdowns.

Alabama would add a pair of field goals and the Vols would bring in Brian Mauer. For the first time this season, Mauer, who played a good bit last year would enter the game for the Big Orange, but would produce no points. Nick Saban is now 23-0 vs. former assistants with 29 straight wins over SEC opponents. 48-17 is the final as the Vols drop their third in a row and 14th straight to the Crimson Tide.

Guarantano, who had scoring passes of 38 yards to Hyatt and 27 yards to senior wide receiver Josh Palmer, finished the day 13 of 24 through the air. He moved into seventh on UT’s career passing yards list (5,976) after throwing for 162 yards vs. the Crimson Tide. Guarantano moved past Jeff Francis (1985-88), who threw for 5,867 yards during his career. Guarantano also moved into sole possession of sixth place on Tennessee’s career passing touchdowns list with 38, after throwing two on Saturday. Guarantano was tied with Jonathan Crompton, Heath Shuler and Andy Kelly – who all had 36 career passing touchdowns – entering the day. Hyatt finished the day by tying his career best with two receptions for a career-high 86 yards. He posted his longest catches of the season with a 38-yard TD in the second quarter, his first, and a 48-yard reception in the third period on another Vol scoring drive. Palmer, meanwhile, led the Big Orange in catches with four and amassed 57 yards. Sophomore running back Eric Gray paced UT on the ground with 57 yards on 19 carries. Defensively, Tennessee (2-3) was led by junior safety Trevon Flowers, who had his second double-digit tackle effort of the season. His 10 stops, eight of them solo, vs. the Crimson Tide (5-0), matched the 10 he had vs. Missouri earlier this season. He also forced a fumble. Redshirt senior Kenneth George Jr. recorded seven tackles, including six solos for a squad that will be idle next weekend before resuming action on Nov. 7 at Arkansas.

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