Offense gains over 500 yards in win over Tennessee


By Hannah Saad

Cody Estremera, Sports Editor

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee— On the second play after the defense forced a fumble and recovered the ball inside the Tennessee five-yard line, running back Josh Jacobs took the handoff from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, made a small cut and split a pair of Tennessee defenders for a three-yard touchdown.

That touchdown came just 23 seconds after Alabama’s first touchdown of the game. It finished with 28 points in the first quarter, en route to its 58-21 win over the Volunteers.

The 28 points scored in the first quarter is the third time this season Alabama has scored four touchdowns to start a game, which ties the record under coach Nick Saban.

The win is also the 12th consecutive win for the Crimson Tide over the Volunteers, which is the first time either team has won a dozen-straight games.

“It’s special for all the people in Alabama who probably had a hard time going to sleep last night worrying about this game,” Saban said. “And I think where my self-gratification comes from is knowing that we made all those people really happy and all those guys in the locker room over really happy because of all the hard work that they’ve done to try to get to this point.”

Alabama has been able to score quickly this season, and the matchup against Tennessee wasn’t any different. Two of Alabama’s first quarter touchdowns were scored in under a minute, increasing its total to 20 this season. Eleven of the 20 plays took less than 30 seconds.

The other sub-minute touchdown came with 8:19 left in the first quarter. Tagovailoa faked a handoff to running back Najee Harris, surveyed the field and slung a pass to freshman receiver Jaylen Waddle. Waddle caught the ball at the Tennessee 45-yard line, and sprinted untouched to the end zone for his third touchdown of the season.

It was the 12th pass this season that went more than 50 yards.

“Waddle came across, and their safety kind of poached, but he poached too far over, and he kind of left Waddle open,” Tagovailoa said.

The Crimson Tide finished with 545 yards of total offense. Tagovailoa threw for 306 of the 327 passing yards and four passing touchdowns.

In place of the injured DeVonta Smith, Waddle finished with four catches, tying his career high and a game-high 117 yards.

Jacobs made his first start of the year, as Damien Harris missed the first three drives of the game for internal reasons. He ran the ball four times for 30 yards on Alabama’s first drive of the game.

He led the team in rushing with 68 yards on 12 carries and a pair of touchdowns. He scored his second touchdown with 4:23 left in the second quarter, this time from two yards out.

“It reminded me of high school,” Jacobs said.

Alabama has had problems finishing the way Saban wants. In the fourth quarter, Alabama just ran the clock out. It ran a 14-play drive for 69 yards. The drive took 9:32. Running back Brian Robinson carried the ball 14 times for 60 yards on the drive.

Alabama is off for its bye week before traveling to LSU on Nov. 3.