No. 1 Tide overwhelms Vols

‘Bama makes it 12 straight wins over Tennessee

By CODY ESTREMERA, For the Eagle
Posted 10/21/18

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Alabama’s offense has started a lot of games fast, scoring on just a couple plays, but it took its time to start Saturday’s game.

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No. 1 Tide overwhelms Vols

‘Bama makes it 12 straight wins over Tennessee

Posted

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Alabama’s offense has started a lot of games fast, scoring on just a couple plays, but it took its time to start Saturday’s game.

It started with a 42-yard kickoff return by Josh Jacobs. It took a season-high nine plays to drive 58 yards to score its first of eight touchdowns in its 58-21 win over Tennessee.

The Crimson Tide continued to own the first quarter. The offense had four possessions and scored four touchdowns, gaining 218 yards.

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa wasn’t bothered by his sprained knee. The sophomore threw for 306 yards and four touchdowns in his first game in Neyland Stadium, three of which came in the first half.

On Alabama’s biggest play of the night, Tagovailoa faked a handoff to running back Najee Harris. He surveyed the field and launched a perfect pass to receiver Jaylen Waddle, who caught the ball at the 45-yard line and sprinted passed the Volunteer defenders for a 77-yard touchdown.

“Waddle came across, and their safety kind of poached, but he poached too far over, and he kind of left Waddle open,” Tagovailoa said.

Jacobs started for the first time this season and was effective. The junior tailback ran for 68 yards on 12 carries and scored twice. He also had three kickoff returns for 63 yards.

The first drive of the game belonged to Jacobs.

After his kickoff return, he ran it four times for 30 of the 68 yards.

“It reminded me of high school,” Jacobs said.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Crimson Tide was effective all night. It allowed just 258 yards, with only 31 coming on the ground.

Through Tennessee’s first five drives of the game, the Alabama defense held the Volunteers to just five yards of total offense.

It put constant pressure on quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, sacking him three times early in the third quarter.

“Coach Saban and the defensive staff challenged us throughout the week to get not get knocked back up front and get pressure and control the line of scrimmage,” defensive end Isaiah Buggs said.

With Raekwon Davis out for the first half, LaBryan Ray made his first career start. He finished with a career-high five tackles, including one tackle for a loss.

“He’s a great player,” Buggs said. “He’s very coachable, and when it’s his time to go, he’s itching to go. That’s the thing we like about LaBryan… Tonight was his time and he showed that he was capable of playing with us.”

Tennessee’s 21 points were the most an Alabama defense has given up to the Vols since Saban started at Alabama.

The Volunteers’ offense started to get going late in the second quarter after Guarantano was injured. Quarterback Keller Chryst came in and led Tennessee to two touchdowns on his only two series of the first half. The redshirt senior finished with 164 passing yards, while completing 60 percent of his passes.

Alabama has a bye next week before traveling to LSU. The Tigers defeated Mississippi State on Saturday.