No. 1 Alabama cruises past No. 9 Tennesee 49-10
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Jalen Hurts and Bo Scarbrough each rushed for over 100 yards Saturday and No. 1 Alabama again got points from its defense and special teams in a 49-10 blowout of No. 9 Tennessee.
Alabama (7-0, 4-0 SEC) earned its 19th straight victory overall and its 10th consecutive win in this annual series. Tennessee (5-2, 2-2) has lost its last 13 games against Southeastern Conference Western Division schools.
It was the most lopsided victory by either team in this rivalry since a 51-0 Alabama victory in 1906.
"This is as proud of our team as I've been all year long in terms of playing a complete game against a very good team, especially in a tough environment," Alabama coach Nick Saban said.
Hurts, the Crimson Tide's freshman quarterback, ran for 132 yards and three touchdowns as Alabama outrushed Tennessee 438-32. Scarbrough rushed for 109 yards on just five carries, including an 85-yard touchdown.
Alabama posted its highest single-game rushing total since running for 451 yards in a 56-28 victory over Tennessee in 1986.
The Tide also scored on Ronnie Harrison's 58-yard interception return and Eddie Jackson's 79-yard punt return. Alabama has 11 non-offensive touchdowns this season, including eight from its defense. The Tide entered the day leading all Football Bowl Subdivision teams in both categories.
Tennessee had erased double-digit deficits in five of its first six games -- including a 45-38 loss at Texas A&M last week in which it forced overtime after trailing 28-7 -- but the Volunteers couldn't deliver a similar comeback this time.
Alabama was too good and Tennessee was too hurt.
Tennessee was playing a ranked opponent for the fourth straight week, a stretch that has taken a physical toll.
Injuries decimated the Vols' defense to such an extent that linebacker Elliott Berry, cornerback Baylen Buchanan and defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie made their first career starts. McKenzie left in the first quarter after he appeared to hurt his shoulder.
On offense, injuries sidelined guard Jashon Robertson and center Dylan Wiesman for the entire game and knocked out Brett Kendrick in the first quarter. The only starting lineman from last week's loss to Texas A&M who played the majority of Saturday's game was right guard Jack Jones.
"Usually when you have a run on injuries, it usually affects one position group, two position groups," Tennessee coach Butch Jones said. "It's affected every position group."
This game showcased the versatility of Alabama's rushing attack as the Tide threatened to have three 100-yard rushers in one game. Damien Harris rushed for 94 yards on 14 carries.
Alabama's defense arguably was even more impressive as it suffocated a Tennessee offense that had gained 684 yards against Texas A&M one week earlier.
Tennessee: The Vols' off week comes at an ideal time as they attempt to get healthier. Even in a losing cause, Derek Barnett showed why he belongs in any conversation of the nation's top defensive players. Barnett recorded a sack and forced a fumble to set up Tennessee's first touchdown and later ended an Alabama scoring threat by making his first career interception.
Alabama will certainly maintain its No. 1 ranking after this impressive victory. The question is how far Tennessee will drop after losing its second straight. The Vols will be out of the top 10. Will they stay in the top 15- or top 20?
Alabama: In its third straight game against a ranked team, Alabama hosts No. 6 Texas A&M.
Tennessee: The Vols have the week off before visiting South Carolina on Oct. 29