Tide rolls late to 52-24 win over Tennessee

Vols lose 15th straight in storied series
Published: Oct. 23, 2021 at 5:31 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 23, 2021 at 10:57 PM EDT
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Heupel Postgame

UT Head Coach Josh Heupel speaks after an intense game with Alabama. More:

Posted by WVLT on Saturday, October 23, 2021

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - It’s the 104th meeting between the Vols and Crimson Tide. Alabama’s won the last 14 in a row and are primed to make it 15 straight. Helping Tennessee’s cause however will be quarterback Hendon Hooker, who despite getting banged up last week against ole Miss, is expected to get the state tonight against Bama as per our partners at

In fact, here’s a look at Hooker and the Vols exiting the busses after arriving at Bryant Denny Stadium this afternoon.

This series is one that absolutely gets fans on both sides of the fence riled up and it appears the Bir Orange faithful who made the trip to Tuscaloosa are ready to go!


Vols received the opening kickoff and were unable to secure a first down. A short pass play to Velus Jones left Tennessee in 3rd and short, but UT was unable to pick up the first on a running play with Jabari Small. As we reported, Hendon Hooker did get the start for Tennessee and completed that one pass on UT’s first possession for six yards.

Paxton Brooks would punt it away for Tennessee and pin the Crimson Tide back at their own 15-yard line. The Tide would be faced with two consecutive third-down plays on their opening drive and would convert both thanks to the arm of quarterback Bryce Young, who is 3-4 for 19 yards so far. Bama Junior Jahleel Billingsley was injured on the 1st down reception and had to leave the game. Alabama completes another third down, Yong 3-for-3 on 3rd down passes. A hand to the face penalty against UT’s Tyler Baron moves the ball down to the Tennessee 22.

Young, then with all day to throw can’t find anyone and scrambles down inside the Vols 10 yard line. On the next play, Brian Robinson runs it in for the TD. 7-0 Alabama.

The Vols answer in an empathic fashion behind the arm of Hendon Hooker. A couple of big pass plays including one to Cedric Tillman down to the Bama 10. From there it’s Hooker to Velus Jones in the end zone from 8 yards out. The game tied 7-7 at the 6:15 mark of the 1st quarter.

Alabama starts its second drive at the 25-yard line and in two plays later the Tide rolls into Tennessee territory. Hooker a big pass play to TE Cameran Latu, who was hut on the play. Tennessee would hold and get the ball back.

On the ensuing drive, the Vols are forced to punt and Paxton Brooks booms it 47 yards, but on the play, he was roughed by the Tide giving Tennessee new life and the Vols would capitalize.

Hooker goes back up top and connects with Jovanta Payton from 57 yards out. With the PAT Tennessee takes a 14-7 lead on the nation’s 4th ranked team late in the 1st quarter.


Good fortune continuing for the Vols to start the 2nd quarter. Bryce Young completes a pass, but it’s fumbled and recovered by Tennessee at its own 9-yard line. The Vols could do nothing with it and were forced to punt it back to the Crimson Tide who’ll have a short field to work with.

Bama would start from the Tennessee 44 yard line. A quick pass to John Metchie gains positive yardage. A short run nets Bama a first down and then another swing pass to Metchie gets the Tide another ten yards and a first down. The John Metchie show continues. Young hit him on a slant pattern down to the UT 10 yard line. Then on 3rd and goal from the 5, Bryce Young goes back to pass, can’t find anyone open so he scrambles out of trouble and into the Tennessee end zone for six points. the point after tied the game at 14 with 9:27 to go in the first half.

On the ensuing drive, a quick three and out for the Vols. 2nd and short and nothing doing for Hendon Hooker on the ground and then a 3rd and one run by Jabari Small gains nothing and Paxton Brooks is forced to punt once again.

Alabama has been terrific on 3rd down thus far. Now 6 of 7 after a pass from Young to Metchie on 3rd and 6 into Tennessee territory. A strong Brian Robinson runs would take the Tide down into the Tennessee red zone. On 3rd and 7 from the 17, Bryce Young works his magic again scrambling out of trouble and runs for the first down to the UT 6 yard line. From there, Young hits John Metchie on a slant pattern for the touchdown. The point after makes it 21-14 Alabama late in the 2nd quarter. Yong is 23 of 22 for 201 yards and a touchdown. He’s also rushed for 25 yards.

Another penalty on first down makes it 1st and 15 Tennessee from their 20-yard line. Yet another false start moves it back to 2nd and 18 at UT 17. A hooker to Tillman pass makes it 3rd and 3, but Hooker rolls to left and has to lob it out of trouble forcing another Tennessee punt. Trouble for the Vols as Bama gets the ball back with just under two minutes to go in the first half.


Bama gets the ball to start the 2nd half, but Tennessee’s defense is up to the challenge, and on the 3rd down flush Young out of the pocket and the quarterback is forced to throw it away. Alabama punts the ball to Tennessee.

The Vols start their first drive of the 2nd half at their own 30-yard line. Hendon Hooker gains two yards on a run but then is sacked on 2nd and 8. On 3rd and 15, Hooker hits Cedric Tillman on a short pass, but not nearly enough for the first down. Vols punt on 4th and 10 and it’s another fair catch for the Crimson Tide.

For the third straight time, the Tennessee defense stops Alabama and quarterback Bryce Young and then a big play on special teams. Defensive Back De’Shawn Rucker gets through and blocks the Bama punt. Vols are in business, but can’t do much with it and on 3rd and 5 Hendon Hooker is flagged for passing the ball after crossing the line of scrimmage. Vols are forced to settle for a field goal and Chase McGrath connects from 33 yards out making the score Alabama 21, Tennessee 17 with 9:44 to go in the 3rd quarter.

Alabama’s third possession of the 2nd half starts from their own 25-yard line. A first down Young pass is incomplete. Robins gains three on 2nd and 15. On 3rd and 12, Young connects on a big pass play to John Metchie. First down at the UT 49. On 3rd and 7, Bryce Young does it again with his legs picking up a first down at the UT 31 yard line.

Another 3rd and 7 for the Tide at the UT 28, a good pass rush by Byron Young forces Young to hurry and sets up a 4th and 7 for Bama. The Crimson Tide connect on a 45-yard field goal and extend their lead to 24-17 in the 3rd quarter.

Vols begin their next drive of the 3rd quarter at their own 25-yard line after the kickoff sails into the end zone. When you get a chance, check out the hard-running back Hooker on this drive for a first down. Then later on 4th and one the Vols think about going for it, but take the five-yard penalty and punt it away back to the Crimson Tide.

Bama starts its drive off by completing converting another third down. Bryce Young then completes a deep pass to Jameson Williams into UT territory. On the play Byron Young and LaTrell Bumphus were shaken up. The third quarter comes to an end with Alabama knocking on the door.


Alabama opens the final stanza with a touchdown. On 3rd and 4 at the 6, Bryce Young is forced out of the pocket, finds a crease and heads towards the end zone. The ball comes out just as Young is crossing the goal line. The play is reviewed and ruled that Young fumbled but recovered just across the goal line for the Alabama TD. 31-17 Tide early in the 4th.

Alabama would then show why they’re ranked 4th in the nation, on 3rd and 15 at their own 20, Bryce Young connects with Jameson Williams for 65 yards to the Tennessee 15. From there, Brian Robinson takes it in for his 2nd TD of the night and the Tide extends its lead back to two scores at 38-24.

Driving back into Alabama territory, Tennessee makes its first big mistake of the game. Armour-Davis, Jalyn intercepts a Hendon Hooker p[ass and returns it to the UT 18 yard line. A pass interference penalty on Jaylen McCollough gives Bama a first and goal at the Vols 4 yard line. Two plays later it’s Robinson taking it in from the one for his third score of the night. Bama increases its lead to 45-24.

This one gets away from Tennessee late. On 3rd down, Bryce Young connects with John Metchie again and rambles into the endzone for another Alabama touchdown. Tide increases its lead to 52-24 over the Vols and is on their way to a 15th straight win in the series.

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