Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

No. 11 Alabama seeks revenge against No. 17 Tennessee

Jennifer Stroud
Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe (#4) gets ready to throw the ball against Arkansas in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Last year a last second field goal sealed the fate of the Crimson Tide on the Third Saturday of October. The football soared through the uprights to give Alabama its first loss to Tennessee in 16 years, and before the night was over, those same uprights were thrown into the Tennessee River. 

In Tuscaloosa, there was no cloud of cigar smoke settling over the city, just a sense of uneasiness. A year later, though, it has transformed into an excited feeling of revenge.  

Although quarterback Jalen Milroe didn’t play in the game last year, he acknowledged how Neyland Stadium’s atmosphere played a huge role.  

“I will say one thing: the atmosphere was great. Our fans are going to be great this weekend, I know that for sure,” Milroe said. “We didn’t come on top with the game [last year] so we have to look at it as a learning moment. Not linger on that but learn with some things we did wrong in that game and try to improve for this game.” 

In last year’s game, penalties played a huge role in the outcome of the game. The Crimson Tide totaled 17 penalties — a program record. Alabama has cut down on the penalties since then, but not by much. The team skated out of College Station with 14 penalties and a win, but 10 penalties at home against Texas resulted in a loss.  

Although the Crimson Tide fared better in its game against Arkansas last weekend, the second half saw several false starts and a corresponding dip in performance.  

Penalties and consistent focus both have been a priority for head coach Nick Saban this season. 

“There were times in the game, especially in the second half, where we sort of lost our mental edge, our intensity, and we didn’t play as well and actually let the other team get back in the game,” Saban said, reflecting on last week’s game against Arkansas. “I think the lesson to be learned in all that is you got to maintain intensity for 60 minutes of the game, regardless of score.” 

Another recurring issue this year has been the offensive line, especially with the number of sacks it has allowed for Milroe. On average, Milroe is sacked 4.33 times a game, which some could call good preparation for a Volunteers team that averages four sacks a game.  

Tennessee is No. 3 in the nation with team sacks, and Alabama is just behind at No. 4 with an average of 3.71 per game. The Crimson Tide also has a higher ranked defense overall, which will be crucial for Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel’s fast-paced offense.  

Linebacker Trezmen Marshall said Tennessee has a great offense that will be a challenge for the Alabama defense.  

“With a fast-paced offense, you know they’re going to try and run, get us on our heels and try to throw some shots in there,” Marshall said. “We’ve just got to stay on top of it. We’ve got a great D-line so hopefully we can contain them, and I know we will contain them.” 

The Alabama fanbase is counting on it. Although this game means a lot to the rivalry and for revenge, it also holds a lot of importance in the conference as a whole. Each team is at one loss, and neither wants to fight for a spot in the SEC Championship with two losses on its record.  

The stakes are high, but the hype is higher. Even players like linebacker Deontae Lawson, who didn’t pay much attention to the rivalry in the past, are feeding into it.  

“Last year definitely opened my eyes up a little bit, showed me how big this rivalry was,” Lawson said. “That will generate good performance for me coming up.” 

Alabama begins its crusade for another victorious Third Saturday in October on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on CBS. 

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