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 wakes up for dominant second half, defeats No. 17 Tennessee

CW/ Riley Thompson
Alabama running back Jase McClellan (#2) runs with the ball against Tennessee.

The Third Saturday in October. The battle for Dixieland Delight. A revenge crusade.  

Call it what you will, but No. 11 Alabama won it, defeating No. 17 Tennessee 34-20 with a dominant second-half performance.  

“I’m really proud of our players for the way they competed in the game and came back and the way they took care of business in the second half,” head coach Nick Saban said. 

The Volunteers came out the gates strong; their opening drive covered 75 yards in less than three minutes to give Tennessee an early touchdown lead. 

Short, quick passes from quarterback Joe Milton helped the Volunteers control the first half as the Crimson Tide offense struggled to string any plays together. 

Milton threw 16-22 in the first half for 175 passing yards, including a total of two touchdowns. The Volunteers also tallied two field goals, giving them 20 points in the first half. 

The Crimson Tide, on the other hand, had just one touchdown in the first half, a 10-yard pass to wide receiver Jermaine Burton.  

Alabama also had a fumble, an interception and only 16 rushing yards, which led to a 20-7 deficit going into the locker room at halftime.  

Linebacker Chris Braswell said the Alabama locker room was “all business” at halftime. 

“We had to clean up some of the things they were beating us on,” Braswell said. “Like I said, we wanted to get back to our standard, playing fast, playing hard.” 

With adjustments made, the second half was a different story.  

Before a minute passed, Alabama was in the end zone with its second touchdown of the day. A 29-yard carry from running back Jase McClellan followed by a 46-yard reception in the end zone by wide receiver Isaiah Bond put Alabama down only 20-14. 

A three-and-out Tennessee drive and a 42-yard field goal from kicker Will Reichard continued to build the momentum in Bryant-Denny, and it all boiled over during the Tennessee drive. 

When the Volunteers decided to go for it on fourth and 1, the Alabama defense, led by linebacker Jihaad Campbell, put a stop to it.  

“It all comes down to execution, and the guys went out there and executed,” defensive back Malachi Moore said. “Jihaad had a big stop and that’s what we’re built for.”  

When the Crimson Tide offense started a drive after a fourth-and-1 stop in the second quarter, it ended in an interception; this time it ended with a 5-yard rushing touchdown for McClellan.  

Milroe said it’s always huge to come onto the field after defense makes big plays like that. 

“Our defense played great,” Milroe said. “The biggest thing with our defense is the hunger they have, the drive they have, the mentality they have. I think that’s very key for us moving forward.” 

After another Reichard field goal put Alabama up 27-20, Crimson Tide fans in Bryant-Denny Stadium started to breathe easy again.  

A strip fumble turned touchdown, though, was what sealed the fates of the Volunteers.   

Braswell sacked Milton, causing him to drop the ball, and Campbell picked it up for a 24-yard run into the end zone. 

“All credit to my teammate,” Campbell said of the touchdown. “It was a play executed by the D-line, the pass rushers, Braswell, so I give all things to him.” 

Altogether, Alabama put up 27 unanswered points in the second half. The Crimson Tide improved from 16 rushing yards in the first half to 122 in the second for a total of 138 — 115 of them belonged to McClellan. 

Although the second half was a dominant performance for the Crimson Tide, the first half still leaves questions about the consistent 60 minutes of play that Saban has been striving for all season.  

After the game, though, McClellan said Saban was proud of the way the team executed the game plan. 

“He talks about beating the team, not just winning the game, and that’s what he thought we did,” McClellan said. 

Alabama has a bit longer to celebrate this win since the Crimson Tide won’t play again until Nov. 4.  

“We’ve got a bye week coming up, so we probably need to get a little rest for some of our guys,” Saban said. “We got more business to take care of in the future.” 

On Nov. 4, the No. 19 LSU Tigers will come to Tuscaloosa for another revenge matchup for the Crimson Tide after the Tigers won 32-31 in overtime last year. This year’s kickoff time has not been announced yet.  

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