The Alabama Crimson Tide were supposed to face their toughest test of the 2016 College Football Season on Saturday when they traveled to Knoxville to take on the No. 9 Tennessee Volunteers. Despite coming off of a 45-38 overtime loss to the Texas A&M Aggies last week, the Volunteers were still a top-10 team and possess plenty of talent on both sides of the ball.
After what Nick Saban, Lane Kiffin, and the Crimson Tide did to Butch Jones and the Volunteers on Saturday, it may be awhile before Tennessee is ranked in the top 10 again. Alabama racked up 438 yards rushing on its way to a 49-10 thrashing of the Volunteers. Things went so well for the Crimson Tide that Kiffin, who used to coach Tennessee, tossed his visor into the stands following the win, according to FOX Sports.
Tide rolls… by a lot.
Alabama’s 49-10 win at Tennessee is not only its 19th straight, but its most-lopsided ever vs. a top-10 opponent. pic.twitter.com/qAmdGRCAI2
— ESPN (@espn) October 15, 2016
The Crimson Tide defense forced the Volunteers to punt on their opening possession of the game. After a short five-play drive that only picked up 14 yards, Alabama would punt the ball back to Tennessee. On first down, Volunteers running back Alvin Kamara gained 12 yards, but then the Alabama defense clamped down and forced a loss of yardage on three straight plays which led to Tennessee punting on fourth-and-27.
With the momentum on their side, the Alabama offense, led by true freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts, embarked on an eight-play 91-yard drive that only took 2:58 off the clock. The drive was capped by a 29-yard touchdown run by wide receiver ArDarius Stewart that put the Crimson Tide ahead 7-0 with 3:29 remaining in the first quarter.
Following three-and-outs by both teams, Alabama would stretch its lead to 14-0 after safety Ronnie Harrison picked off Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown.
The Volunteers would get a break with 10:11 remaining in the second quarter when defensive end Derek Barnett sacked Hurts and forced a fumble. Tennessee would recover at the 11-yard-line, and two plays later, Kamara would punch it in from seven yards out to cut the Crimson Tide lead to 14-7.
From that point forward, the Alabama Crimson Tide would outscore the Tennessee Volunteers, 35-3. Saban’s team dominated in every phase of the game, just like they have through seven games now.
— Alabama Athletics (@UA_Athletics) October 15, 2016
Alabama already had the best defense in the country coming into the season. The question marks lied on the offensive side of the ball as quarterback Jake Coker and running back Derrick Henry both moved on to the NFL. The Crimson Tide knew that they were going to have a running back-by-committee approach, but weren’t exactly sure what to do at quarterback.
After watching one quarter of redshirt freshman Blake Barnett at quarterback against the USC Trojans, Kiffin and Saban made the switch to the true freshman Hurts. The move added an element to the Crimson Tide offense that we haven’t seen out of them in a long time. Hurts is an extremely skilled runner which puts even more pressure on defenses that already have to worry about Calvin Ridley, O.J. Howard, Stewart, and the running back committee.
Alabama does have a tough game upcoming next week as the team will host the No. 6 Texas A&M Aggies. With Trevor Knight’s inconsistencies throwing the ball, the Crimson Tide defense should be able to shut down the Aggies’ offense. Assuming they win next week, Alabama would only have to defeat an underachieving LSU squad, Mississippi State, Chattanooga, and Auburn to have yet another perfect regular season.
For those that get tired of seeing the Alabama Crimson Tide winning every game, the 2016 College Football Season is shaping up to be another long year.
[Featured Image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]