No. 1 Alabama trounces No. 9 Tennessee in 49-10 runaway
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Alabama wouldn’t allow Tennessee to produce another comeback.
Jalen Hurts and Bo Scarbrough each rushed for over 100 yards Saturday and No. 1 Alabama again got points from its defense and special teams in a 49-10 blowout of No. 9 Tennessee.
It was the most lopsided victory by either team in this rivalry since a 51-0 Alabama victory in 1906.
“This is as proud of our team as I’ve been all year long in terms of playing a complete game against a very good team, especially in a tough environment,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said.
Tennessee (5-2, 2-2 SEC) had erased double-digit deficits in five of its first six games — including a 45-38 loss at Texas A&M last week in which it forced overtime after trailing 28-7 — but the Volunteers couldn’t deliver a similar rally this time.
Alabama (7-0, 4-0) instead had college football’s cardiac kids dead and buried by the end of the third quarter. The Crimson Tide capitalized on the injury issues that have decimated Tennessee’s depth chart.
“That was our goal coming in, to score fast and get them tired,” Alabama tight end O.J. Howard. “I think it worked.”
Alabama earned its 19th straight victory overall and its 10th consecutive win in this annual series. Tennessee has lost its last 13 games against Southeastern Conference Western Division schools.
Hurts, the Crimson Tide’s freshman quarterback, ran for 132 yards and three touchdowns as Alabama outrushed Tennessee 438-32. Scarborough rushed for 109 yards on just five carries, including an 85-yard touchdown.
Alabama posted its highest single-game rushing total since running for 451 yards in a 56-28 victory over Tennessee in 1986.
“They did an exceptional job tonight,” Tennessee safety Todd Kelly Jr. said. “They executed and we didn’t, at the end of the day.”
The Tide also scored on Ronnie Harrison’s 58-yard interception return and Eddie Jackson’s 79-yard punt return. Alabama has 11 non-offensive touchdowns this season, including eight from its defense. The Tide entered the day leading all Football Bowl Subdivision teams in both categories.
“It’s very contagious,” Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen said. “When one (player) gets one, we always want another one. That’s our goal. We always want one more, one more.”
Tennessee was playing a ranked opponent for the fourth straight week, a stretch that has taken a physical toll.
Injuries limited the Vols’ defense to such an extent that linebacker Elliott Berry, cornerback Baylen Buchanan and defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie made their first career starts. McKenzie left in the first quarter after he appeared to hurt his shoulder.
On offense, injuries sidelined guard Jashon Robertson and center Dylan Wiesman for the entire game and knocked out Brett Kendrick in the first quarter. The only starting lineman from last week’s loss to Texas A&M who played the majority of Saturday’s game was right guard Jack Jones.
“Usually when you have a run on injuries, it usually affects one position group, two position groups,” Tennessee coach Butch Jones said. “It’s affected every position group.”
This game showcased the versatility of Alabama’s rushing attack as the Tide threatened to have three 100-yard rushers in one game. Damien Harris rushed for 94 yards on 14 carries.
Alabama’s defense arguably was even more impressive as it suffocated a Tennessee offense that had gained 684 yards against Texas A&M one week earlier.
Tennessee: The Vols’ off week comes at an ideal time as they attempt to get healthier. Even in a loss, Derek Barnett showed why he belongs in any conversation of the nation’s top defensive players. Barnett recorded a sack and forced a fumble to set up Tennessee’s lone touchdown and later had his first career interception.
Alabama will certainly maintain its No. 1 ranking after this impressive victory. The question is how far Tennessee will drop after losing its second straight. The Vols will be out of the top 10. Will they stay in the top 15— or top 20?
Alabama gained 8.9 yards per carry. Tennessee had 1 yard per carry. ... Alabama outgained Tennessee 594-163.
Alabama: In its third straight game against a ranked team, Alabama hosts No. 6 Texas A&M.
Tennessee: The Vols have the week off before visiting South Carolina on Oct. 29.
This story has been corrected to show that Ronnie Harrison scored on a 58-yard interception return. It also corrects the rushing total from the 1986 game to 451.
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