Alabama 35, Tennessee 13
Tua Tagovailoa was 11-of-12 for 155 yards with a pick before leaving with an ankle sprain. According to Nick Saban, Tua should be okay in a few weeks, and he’ll need to be with the way Mac Jones played. The backup hit 6-of-11 passes for 72 yards, but the rest of the team picked him up. Najee Harris ran for 105 yards and two scores, and Brian Robinson took off for 40 yards and a score.
It helped that the Tide played Tennessee. It might have been a rough performance, but Tennessee couldn’t take advantage of enough opportunities with just two field goals after an early Brian Maurer touchdown run. There were chances, and there were drives deep into Tide territory, but the team just couldn’t execute.
The Vols needed to be perfect, and they weren’t even close. The 13 penalties for 93 yards and two turnovers were more than enough problems to let the Tua-less Tide get through the game and move on. Bama only came up with 373 yards of total offense and was hardly sharp, but the defense clamped down when it needed to. Tennessee missed a big, big chance to do something special. Down 28-13 in the fourth, the Vols had a shot to make this sort of interesting, and then …
Tennessee gets South Carolina next and UAB next. There’s a shot that outside of UAB, and considering Missouri is hamstrung by the NCAA sanctions, there aren’t a lot of likely bowl teams left to play. Winning four of the last five is asking for too much for a team that doesn’t have a consistent enough offense. At some point, the Vols have to find something they can rely on. Scoring more than 20 points in an SEC game would be a start.
How hurt is Tua, really? A few weeks with that high ankle sprain is okay as long as he’s ready to roll for LSU on November 9th, but the Tide need to go through the exercise of beating Arkansas before getting a week off to rest up and get ready. The college football season goes by fast, but this is when the grind starts to kick in. LSU is all that matters, and the Bama that showed up against Tennessee can win that game.