The Third* Saturday in October
|2007||Alabama||41||#20 Tennessee||17||Tuscaloosa, AL||44–38–7|
|2008||#2 Alabama||29||Tennessee||9||Knoxville, TN||45–38–7|
|2009||#1 Alabama||12||Tennessee||10||Tuscaloosa, AL||46–38–7|
|2010||#7 Alabama||41||Tennessee||10||Knoxville, TN||47–38–7|
|2011||#2 Alabama||37||Tennessee||6||Tuscaloosa, AL||48–38–7|
|2012||#1 Alabama||44||Tennessee||13||Knoxville, TN||49–38–7|
|2013||#1 Alabama||45||Tennessee||10||Tuscaloosa, AL||50–38–7|
*Sometimes it's the fourth Saturday but the outcome is still the same.
Since arriving in Tuscaloosa, Nick Saban's Alabama teams have defeated the Vols by an average score of 35.5 to 10.7.
A few Saturday numbers:
- 7 for 11 on 3rd down efficiency, 1 for 1 on 4th down efficiency.
- 26 first downs to UT's 14.
- 9.8 yards per pass completion
- No sacks given up.
- Two interceptions returned for 117 yards (Landon Collins 89 yards TD, Deion Belue 28 yards), 78 yards short of Tennessee's total passing yards (195).
(John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)
Amari Cooper is starting to look like he did last season when he broke all of Julio Jones' freshmen records (59 receptions for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns). He snagged a few balls out of the air and showed great speed especially on the 54-yard touchdown dash to start the scoring. His TD was his second of the season and second in consecutive games.
Part of the credit has to go to the fine season fellow receivers Kevin Norwood (23 catches for 348 yards, TDs), Christion Jones (27-281, 2 TD), and DeAndrew White (22-329, 3 TD) are all having. This Crimson Tide receiving corps is proving that you cannot double-team anyone without leaving someone else dangerously open.
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Interestingly enough, despite the fine job Chad Lindsay had been doing at center while Ryan Kelly was out injured, Kelly returned to the starting lineup and played pretty much the whole game until late when all substitutions entered the game. I have yet to re-watch the game but I suppose Ryan did an adequate job. I do recall at least one instance when he got beat and he was chasing a Tennessee defender who had got by him.
I did not see fab freshman Grant Hill enter until late as well, leaving Austin Shepherd to man right tackle. Hill has made a few errors in recent games but is improving and shows great promise. Shepherd had the lone O-line penalty, a false start in the 3rd with the score 35-3.
It could be that the coaching staff wanted Kelly to get his "game legs" back under him after missing the last three weeks. My feeling is that Saban wants this 5-man unit to finally be set and be prepared to go 60 minutes from here on out.
A reporter asked Saban about Kelly's return but made the mistake of asking about Cade Foster in the same breath. Saban only answered the second part of the question. The reporter was probably too scared to re-ask about Kelly.
Personally, I thought Lindsay was a better fit but Coach Saban has yet to call me and ask. I'd better charge up my phone just in case.
Very good news on the injury front in that there were so few.
H-back Jalston Fowler had a concussion in the first half and did not return. He has two weeks to recover and will be assessed at that time. Expect him to play against LSU.
Kicker Cade Foster ironically got "kicked in the shin" but he will be okay. Adam Griffith filled in making an extra point, a 20-yard field goal, and a kickoff tackle.
As previously announced, DT Brandon Ivory did not participate. The following players were complimented by Saban who ably filled in: Jonathan Allen (2 solo, 1 assist), Darren Lake (no stats), A'Shawn Robinson (6 assists, 2 QBH). Ed Stinson (2 solo, 1 assist) also moved inside to help out.
The Kids Are Alright
As mentioned above, true freshmen Allen and Robinson continue to get plenty of playing time on the defensive front, along with nose tackle Lake - a sophomore and Jesse Williams protégé. The real news is that true freshman Dee Liner made his first appearance in a game and will likely not redshirt. This move coincides with Ivory's injury and the departure of LaMichael Fanning who appears to be transferring to Jacksonville State.
Two young linebackers to keep an eye on are true sophomore LB Dillon Lee and true freshman Tim Williams. They are future stars. Lee made 3 solo tackles and has a real nose for the ball.
(John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)
In the post-game press conference, a reporter asked Nick Saban about the above sign which reads "SABAN, we'll stay for 60 if you stay FOREVER". The reporter humorously asked "is that a deal?" Saban's smiling response pretty much crushed any Longhorns fans' fleeting fantasies:
Sounds like a good deal to me. Hey, I love it here. And I am too damn old to go someplace else and start all over. I can tell you that. I don't really make those decisions. And I know Miss Terry likes it here. The fans and the whole Alabama community has really embraced us from first day that we came here. We appreciate that. I know we have lots of challenges in the future. We're certainly up for those challenges but I am not really in a stage in my my career where I'm looking for some other sorta big challenge...
As mentioned early in the week, 2014 recruits Da'Shawn Hand, Elisha Shaw and others were in the house. There are some reports that DB Marlon Humphrey may have been there too. They all had to have been blown away by that game day experience. Good job, Tide Nation!