Alabama football has never lost to rival Tennessee under Nick Saban. The Third Saturday in October has been unbelievably one-sided for almost two decades now.
That may well continue when tonight’s game is over in a few hours. However, the Crimson Tide have gotten out to an uncharacteristically sloppy start. Tennessee has an early 14-7 lead on the Tide, which is a rarity in and of itself.
Alabama’s first drive was pretty textbook. Bryce Young and Brian Robinson Jr. went 85 yards in 12 plays, with Robinson punching in an eight-yard touchdown. The rest of the day has been a struggle so far.
Tennessee answered right away, on a Hendon Hooker touchdown pass to Velus Jones Jr. Alabama’s Will Reichard missed a 54-yard field goal on the next drive, and Tennessee took advantage, with Hooker hitting JaVonta Payton for a 57-yard score.
Hendon Hooker to JaVonta “big play” Payton for a #VOLS TOUCHDOWN pic.twitter.com/wiqeCrkQxD
— RockyTopTalk (@RockyTopTalk) October 23, 2021
That touchdown gave Tennessee it’s first lead over the Crimson Tide since 2015! That was the last fairly close game between these two, with Alabama taking the 19-14 win in Tuscaloosa.
Tennessee leads Alabama for the first time since 2015. Hendon Hooker to Javonta Payton for 57 yards takes advantage of a brutal special teams mistake from the Tide. 14-7, #Vols.
— David Ubben (@davidubben) October 23, 2021
Alabama’s Jameson Williams fumbled on the next drive. Tennessee would go three-and-out on the next play, but this looks more like the Alabama that played in College Station than the dominant team we’ve seen otherwise.
Haven’t seen Alabama play this sloppy for a while
— Dynasty Brit (@DynastyBrit) October 23, 2021
Texas A&M game all over again for Alabama.
— Michael Langford✈ (@mikeylangford33) October 23, 2021
This Alabama team so sloppy.
— Dr. $weetThang🍬 (@ashnichole___) October 23, 2021
Alabama is going to lose to Tennessee. Mistakes just like the A&M game.
— Art (@cleverage2) October 23, 2021
What is going to take fire Alabama to fire the defensive coordinator our defense has not be the same since he’s been there.
— Joseph (@Josephracine9) October 23, 2021
Tennessee’s work is far from done, though. Bryce Young tied things up, calling his own number from five yards out midway through the second quarter. After another Tennessee three-and-out, Alabama football has the ball again.
The Vols should feel good about coming out hard against the Tide, in year one of Josh Heupel’s tenure with the Vols. Tennessee fans won’t feel great until they can finally get back in the ‘W’ column in this big rivalry, though.