KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The No. 1 University of Alabama football team scored 28 first-quarter points on the way to a 58-21 win over Tennessee at Neyland Stadium Saturday afternoon. It was the Crimson Tide’s most points ever against the Volunteers.
The victory also gave Alabama its 12th-consecutive win over the Vols, the longest streak in series history. Today’s game was also the eighth time the Tide has topped 500 yards of offense this season, marking UA’s first eight-game run of 500-yard total offense performances in program history.
Sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw four touchdown passes, upping his 2018 total to 25, which ranks fourth on Alabama’s single season list for passing scores. Sophomore wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, freshman wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, junior tight end Irv Smith Jr. and sophomore wide receiver Henry Ruggs III all caught touchdowns.
Junior running back Josh Jacobs (two), senior running back Damien Harris and junior quarterback Jalen Hurts all scored rushing touchdowns on the day.
Tagovailoa was 19-of-29 for 306 yards on the afternoon, while Waddle led the Crimson Tide with 117 receiving yards. Jacobs led the Tide’s rushers with 68 yards on 12 carries.
Junior defensive back Deionte Thompson led the defense with seven tackles and a forced fumble while sophomore defensive back Xavier McKinney had five stops and a sack. Senior defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs and senior linebacker Christian Miller also had sacks against the Vols.
Alabama extended its streak of scoring on its opening drive to eight games in a row, moving the ball 58 yards on nine plays and finishing with a Tagovailoa-to-Jeudy, 11-yard touchdown pass. Redshirt freshman kicker Joseph Bulovas’ extra point made it 7-0 just over four minutes into the first quarter.
A fumble on Tennessee’s third play of its first offensive drive recovered by Miller gave Alabama the ball on the UT three-yard line. One play later, Jacobs picked up Alabama’s second score of the game with more than 10 minutes left in the opening quarter. Bulovas kicked the extra point to make it 14-0.
After a three-and-out on Tennessee’s next possession, Alabama needed just one play to cover 77 yards for its third touchdown of the quarter when Tagovailoa hit Waddle in stride with the freshman’s route ending in the end zone for the score. Bulovas’ extra point was true and the tally was 21-0 with 8:08 left in the quarter.
The Tide’s fourth scoring drive of the first quarter took a little longer than the previous two, taking two minutes and 44 seconds off the clock for a 9-play, 93-yard touchdown march that ended with Harris taking it in from three yards out. Bulovas’ extra point made it 28-0 with 3:31 remaining in the first stanza.
Today’s game marked only the fifth time in the last 15 seasons an SEC team has scored 28 points or more in the first quarter against a conference opponent. Two of the five have been by Alabama this year.
Tennessee got on the board with 7:21 minutes left in the first half with a 10-yard touchdown throw, putting the score at 28-7.
Jacobs scored his second touchdown of the game with 4:23 left in the first half, bulling his way up the middle into the end zone from the two-yard line, capping an eight-play, 43-yard drive following a failed onside kick by Tennessee. Bulovas made the extra point to push the score to 35-7.
Tennessee scored again with 2:18 left in the first half on a 20-yard touchdown pass to make it 35-14.
Following the Vols’ second score of the quarter, Alabama answered with an 85-yard touchdown drive that took 2:01 of the 2:16 left on the clock. After a pair of rushes started the drive, the Tide took to the air to finish it off, with Tagovailoa making six straight completions, including a nine-yard touchdown throw to Smith Jr. Bulovas made the point after attempt, and the score was 42-14 with 15 seconds left in the half.
Alabama scored a safety on Tennessee’s first snap of the second half when the Vols’ quarterback fell down in the end zone, moving the score to 44-14 eight seconds into the third quarter. It was the Crimson Tide’s second safety in as many games.
Following the free kick that comes with a safety, Alabama scored another touchdown, this one coming on a Tagovailoa to Ruggs III 41-yard touchdown pass. Bulovas’ extra point made it 51-14 with 12:53 left in the third quarter.
Tennessee scored on a pick-six in the third quarter to make it 51-21 with 5:17 left on the clock.
Alabama responded to the UT defensive score with an eight-play, 70-yard touchdown march, capped by a 21-yard sprint for the end zone by Hurts. It was the 22nd rushing touchdown of Hurts’ career, extending his school record for a quarterback. Bulovas scored on the point after attempt and the score was 58-21 in Alabama’s favor with 1:03 left in the third quarter.
A scoreless fourth quarter closed the game, giving Alabama a 58-21 victory.
Alabama is off next weekend before returning to action on November 3 in Baton Rouge against LSU.