Alabama was seldom tested on the third Saturday of October 2016 as they took care of business against their longtime rival. The Tennessee Volunteers were overmatched and outplayed from bell to bell, as the Crimson Tide delivered a punishing uppercut to the Vols’ previously unbeaten record at home this season to the tune of 49-10.
The Tide came out running, literally, picking up a rushing touchdown off the feet of wide receiver ArDarius Stewart. Then, Alabama did what they’ve done best this season, as they picked up yet another non-offensive touchdown thanks in part to a pick six by Ronnie Harrison. Tennessee responded with a seven-yard touchdown run by Alvin Kamara following a turnover forced by All-SEC-caliber defensive end Derek Barnett, but freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts answered with a 45-yard touchdown run of his own on the ensuing possession.
Tennessee would never get closer than 18 points for the rest of the way as the No. 1 team in the country flexed their muscles and then some. The aforementioned Hurts would find the end zone two more times in the third quarter to push the lead to 35-10. The fourth quarter saw Eddie Jackson score on a 79-yard punt return, and the victory was capped off by an 85-yard touchdown run by Bo Scarbrough who rubbed salt in the wound after hitting paydirt.
Jackson and Harrison’s touchdowns put the tally up to an absurd 11 on the year for Alabama. For context...
Alabama has 11 non-offensive touchdowns — South Carolina has nine offensive touchdowns this season.— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dkurtenbach) October 15, 2016
Alabama's two non-offensive touchdowns today would have still beaten Tennessee. #BAMAvsTENN— Touchdown Alabama (@TDAlabamaMag) October 15, 2016
3 things we learned:
1. Jalen Hurts is likely the frontrunner for SEC Freshman of the Year: He’s likely going to be given chase all year by Texas A&M Aggies running back Trayveon Williams, but Hurts’ dynamic abilities with his arm and legs have put him above the rest this season. He didn’t have a passing touchdown today -- the second such occurrence this year, with the first coming against Ole Miss -- but still was able to be relatively efficient as he completed 16 of 26 for 143 yards. Hurts also hurt Tennessee on the ground, scampering for 132 yards and three scores on the afternoon. This marks the second time he’s piled up over 100 rushing yards this year, with the first time coming in that aforementioned encounter with the Rebels. As long as Hurts continues this play, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t have the hardware at the end of the year.
2. A slow start doomed Tennessee this time: Sort of expected, but Tennessee could ill-afford to start off slowly against a team like Alabama. The Crimson Tide are rarely chewed up on the offensive end, and although the Vols’ offense has impressed lately, Josh Dobbs couldn’t quite crack the code on Sunday. Nor could Tennessee’s runners, who were held to under 40 yards on Saturday afternoon. There’s starting off slowly and starting off slowly against Alabama. One’s like climbing up a hill, and the other’s like trying to trek up to the summit of Mt. Everest. Unfortunately for the Volunteers, it felt like the latter all afternoon.
3. We still might see these two teams collide again: Pooling in the info that we’ve got from the rest of the afternoon in the SEC, the Tide and Volunteers still may have a date set up for Atlanta in December. Although Florida scored a big win over Mizzou, they still fall in the head-to-head category to Tennessee who of course beat them last month. And Georgia meanwhile took a big hit earlier in the day with an ill-advised loss to Vanderbilt, dropping them down the rungs in the SEC East. The meat grinder portion of Tennessee’s schedule is over as they should be able to coast their way to a division championship. Alabama meanwhile still has matchups looming against A&M, LSU and Auburn, but do you dare doubt them at this point?