“This is the year,” they thought. “After nine years of defeats to the Crimson Tide in the game known as Third Saturday in October, this would surely be the year that the Vols snap that string.” The Vols felt it. Their fans felt it. SaturdayDownSouth.com sure felt it. Jalen Hurts and his cohorts felt otherwise. Alabama’s true freshman quarterback has shot to stardom, but none more so than the show he put on against the Volunteers.
Tennessee entered the game 5-1 and ranked No. 9 in the nation. Three weeks earlier, they had broken Florida’s 11-year stranglehold over them and followed it with a win in Athens over then No. 25 ranked Georgia. A double overtime loss at Texas A&M was a setback but this team was still in the hunt for a CFP spot.
In the second quarter of a tight ball game, Bama holds a slim 14-7 lead. The Tide has the ball at the Vols’ 45 yard line on a 2nd and 14. Despite a costly fumble that the Volunteers would convert into their first score of the game on the previous drive, Hurts is not shaken.
Set up in the 11 personnel out of the shotgun with Josh Jacobs back to his right and Miller Forristall in the slot to the left, Hurts sells the hand off to his running back which give Forristall a chance to pull to the right and kick out the cornerback on the edge. ArDarius Stewart takes care of his man, while DL Corey Vereen is suckered inside and cannot catch up as Hurts darts down the sideline leaving Tennessee defenders far behind.
Not only did this play put the Crimson Tide up two scores, but it put on display the young quarterback’s command of the offense, his deceptively blazing speed, and his cool demeanor.
Hurts would finish with 132 yards and three rushing touchdowns in 12 carries with the capper being a one yarder to put the game out of reach.