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Alabama Football Sunday Morning Hangover: The Drive

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Alabama 34 Tennessee 20

Kiffin's chart was the game MVP.
Kiffin's chart was the game MVP.
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Nick Saban moves to 8-0 against Tennessee as head coach of the Crimson Tide. Along the way, quarterback Blake Sims took another step towards maturity.

After running up a 27-0 lead, it looked like this game would be a repeat of the Alabama-Texas A&M game from the week before. But then the Tide relaxed a little and allowed the Vols to get back in the game. Sophomore quarterback Joshua Dobbs entered the game in place of the ineffective Nathan Peterman and provided Tennessee a spark. The Vols scored 17 unanswered points and got the crowd back in the game.

At the 5:52 mark of the third quarter, Alabama got the ball back up by 10 points with a feeling of momentum securely on the Volunteers side.

This is when the offense put on their hardhats, grabbed their lunch pails, and went to work.

THE DRIVE:

Aaron Medley kickoff for 61 yds , Cyrus Jones return for 20 yds to the Alabama 24.

1st and 10 at ALA 24 Blake Sims pass incomplete to Amari Cooper - Good pressure by the Vols causes Sims to throw the ball away.
2nd and 10 at ALA 24 T.J. Yeldon run for 6 yds to the Bama 30 - Back to the basics.
3rd and 4 at ALA 30 T.J. Yeldon run for 5 yds to the Bama 35 for a 1ST down - Off-guard dive converts the first down.
1st and 10 at ALA 35 T.J. Yeldon run for no gain to the Bama 35 - There was a hole but T.J. trips at the line of scrimmage.
2nd and 10 at ALA 35 Blake Sims pass complete to Amari Cooper for 7 yds to the Bama 42 - A confidence builder for Sims.
3rd and 3 at ALA 42 T.J. Yeldon run for 5 yds to the Bama 47 for a 1ST down - Yeldon's tough running converts another third down into a first.
1st and 10 at ALA 47 Blake Sims pass incomplete to Amari Cooper - Almost a spectacular one-handed catch.
2nd and 10 at ALA 47 Derrick Henry run for 1 yd to the Bama 48 - Nothing doing. The Tide faces another third down.
3rd and 9 at ALA 48 Blake Sims run for 9 yds to the Tenn 43 for a 1ST down - Sims cannot find a receiver and does the smart thing of using his legs to get the first down. *To me, this was the key play of the drive.
1st and 10 at TENN 43 Derrick Henry run for 3 yds to the Tenn 40 - Henry with a few tough yards to the right.
2nd and 7 at TENN 40 Blake Sims pass complete to T.J. Yeldon for 3 yds to the Tenn 37 - A nice little swing pass to Yeldon.
3rd and 4 at TENN 37 Blake Sims pass complete to Amari Cooper for 9 yds to the Tenn 28 for a 1ST down - the fourth conversion of the drive silences the crowd.
1st and 10 at TENN 28 Derrick Henry 28 Yd Run (Adam Griffith Kick) BOOM!

It is moments like this that help understand why Saban would take a chance on Lane Kiffin. The Alabama Offensive Coordinator, skillfully dialed up a mix of runs and short passes that carved up the Vols defense and broke their hearts.

The game will replay Saturday evening at 5pm CT / 6pm ET on the SEC Network.

ROLL TIDE!