The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Tennessee Volunteers 37 to 6 in front of a packed crowd in Bryant-Denny Stadium
The Tide entered the game as a 30-point favorite, but struggled to get into a rhythm throughout the first half. The offense limped through the first two quarters, totaling only 157 yards.
Running back Trent Richardson rushed for only 37 yards on 10 carries and quarterback AJ McCarron threw his first interception since the Kent State game, ending his streak of 152 consecutive passes without an interception.
“Our lackluster first half was a little concerning,” head coach Nick Saban said. “It wasn’t a concern going into to the game because we talked all week about guys being focused and concerned about what’s happening right now and not think about the future.”
Both teams went into the locker room with the score tied at 6.
After the halftime break, the Tide exploded in the third quarter, scoring 21 points in the period.
“It really wasn’t explosive, I think the players were emotional about the situation and responded on their own based on who they were,” Saban said. “I challenged them too and said, ‘ok, you guys have a decision to make: you have 30 minutes to play a game. You have to decide what you want. Everybody has to make a commitment to who we are, what kind of competitor you are, and what are you willing to do to get what you want.”
That commitment showed when the Alabama defense forced Tennessee to go three-and-out on their first possession of the second half.
On their first possession of the second half, Alabama drove the ball 75 yards in just five plays for a touchdown. McCarron lead the charge, going 4-of-4 for 73 yards, capping the drive with a two-yard rush around the right end for the touchdown.
“He was upset that he threw a pick early, but we told him not to worry about it, and that we had his back,” Richardson said. “He came right back in and scored a touchdown. In the second half, that’s how we respond and we have to be relentless.”
McCarron finished the game 17-of-26 with 284 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Running back Trent Richardson was held somewhat in check. He finished the game with 77 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries, ending his streak of six consecutive games with over 100 yards rushing.
Alabama will have a bye week this week before beginning preparation for the showdown with the LSU Tigers on Saturday, Nov. 5 in Bryant-Denny Stadium.