What happened and what mattered in the Alabama 58-21 win over Tennessee?
Alabama 58, Tennessee 21
Alabama gave up 21 points. It was a 28-0 first quarter lead, and the game was absolutely never in doubt, but to come up with anything to poke, the Tide D hasn’t been a brick wall for a full 60 minutes – it hasn’t had to be. That’s looking for something to get grouchy about, though. The D was more than fine when the game still mattered – on Tennessee’s first drive.
It’s not just that Alabama has been so dominant. It’s that it’s taking the will away from the opponent by the end of the first few drives. This is a Tennessee team that really did beat Auburn. This is a real, live SEC team that’s improving enough to hope to at least be okay at home.
Four drives, four touchdowns, ball game.
The Heisman race was over a while ago, but Tua Tagovailoa is distancing himself by ten miles. Boom, boom, boom, boom – four touchdown passes, 306 yards. Tagovailoa threw four touchdown passes, and he’s putting up massive numbers without having to play all that often. 300 yards and four scores have been routine now. Alabama being amazing has been the norm. To many, this might be the Evil Empire, but this is something special. If you’re a college football fan, enjoy it.
Tennessee might have to give Keller Chryst more of a shot. Jarrett Guarantano might have been amazing against Auburn, but Chryst came in and was solid, throwing or 164 yards and two scores. It might have been way too late, but he was good, Jauan Jennings was a positive with 102 receiving yards, and … that was about it. Blow off anything happening against Bama at this point. Tennessee at least scored 21.
The Vols have to blow this off in a hurry. South Carolina might be rested, but Tennessee has a real shot at coming up with a win in Columbia next week. With Charlotte, Kentucky, Missouri, and at Vanderbilt to close, there’s still an honest shot at getting three more wins. As is, the win over Auburn made the first season under Jeremy Pruitt, but even with this game, the team is still improving.
Alabama gets two weeks off to get ready for LSU. That’s it. Auburn might be the rivalry game, but there isn’t enough on either side of the ball to pull it off in Tuscaloosa. Mississippi State? Nah. Nick Saban and company get two weeks to prepare for the trip to Death Valley, which is the College Football Playoff moment. This season couldn’t be shaping up any better for the Tide.