TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WATE) — The Third Saturday in October once again arrived, but Tennessee’s nightmare of a second half added another year to their drought in Tuscaloosa.
Despite the loss, it was a promising start in Crimson Tide territory. Tennessee planted themselves quickly into the soil of Bryant-Denny Stadium, sporting 13 unanswered points to open the first quarter.
Squirrel White was responsible for the first touchdown, snagging a 39-yard catch from Joe Milton by the fingertips to get the Vols rolling. Tennessee’s next two additions to the scoreboard came from back-to-back Charles Campbell field goals.
A question coming into this matchup seemed to be addressed fairly quickly – Could the Tennessee wide receivers be targets for Milton? By the time the four-minute mark passed in the first quarter, Milton answered that by collecting more passing yards than the offense had throughout the entirety of their Texas A&M matchup.
Defensively the Vols kept the Alabama offense out of commission until midway through the second quarter when Jermaine Burton tacked on a 10-yd trip to the end zone.
First-half efforts continued for Tennessee. Following a Jaylen McCullough interception, McCallen Castles caught a 6-yard toss from Milton to push the Vols lead to 13.
That didn’t end the half, but Gabe Jeudy-Lally did. With one second left before the break, the senior broke through the line of scrimmage to sack Milroe. The play was the perfect finale to the Vols’ first-half performance.
However, “perfect” was stripped off the board when Tennessee took the field for the second half. Alabama capped off the first drive after the break with a 46-yard Milroe to Isaiah Bond touchdown, putting the matchup within six.
The third quarter proceeded to be a nightmare for Tennessee, Alabama knocked back a 42-yard field goal and followed it up with a 5-yard run to the end zone from Jase McClellan. The latter of those efforts gave the Crimson Tide their first lead of the afternoon with less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Tennessee entered the final 15 minutes with zero points to show for the second half and Alabama holding a 24-20 advantage.
The Crimson Tide kept their dominance on display through the fourth, a 50-yard field goal from Will Reichard, extending Alabama to 20 unanswered points.
Tennessee’s offense needed something positive on offense to keep themselves in contention, but Jihaad Campbell called ballgame, scooping up a Milton fumble and returning it 24 yards to give the Crimson Tide a two-score lead.
The Vols hadn’t won in Tuscaloosa since 2003, the script remained unchanged this season. Vols drop to Alabama, 34-20.