No. 1 Alabama crushes Tennessee

By Marquavius Burnett

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– The “Sunseri Bowl” version of Alabama versus Tennessee was supposed to be a competitive rivalry game, but quickly turned into a 44-13 rout for Alabama on Saturday.

The stands emptied as the Crimson Tide racked up yard after yard and got defensive stop after stop. No. 1 Alabama’s (7-0, 4-0 SEC) victory in front of 102,455 fans was its sixth consecutive in the series.

“It was great team win tonight,” quarterback AJ McCarron said. “Everybody came out fired up. We came out early and set the tone and that’s what we need to do. I can’t say enough about my offensive line and my receivers. They had a hell of a game and they deserve every bit of credit they get.”

The Tide offensive attack was balanced, gaining 539 yards of total offense. Quarterback AJ McCarron paced the Tide with 306 yards and four touchdowns. McCarron showed no signs of his knee bothering him and said it was “good” after the game.

McCarron connected early and often with true freshman wide receiver Amari Cooper. Cooper caught seven passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns.

Another true freshman, T.J. Yeldon led the team in rushing with 129 yards and two touchdowns. The offensive explosion had a lot of Alabama players calling it their most complete game of the season.

“We can out and started fast after our first drive,” center Barrett Jones said. “We finished strong and finally played four quarters of Alabama football.”

Alabama’s defense held the high-octane Tennessee offense to 282 yards and intercepted quarterback Tyler Bray twice. The Volunteers squandered away scoring opportunities, including a red zone trip that resulted in a Robert Lester interception.

“We got whipped by a great football team in just about every phase,” Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley said. “I’m really disappointed that we didn’t execute a little better on offense. That’s probably the thing I was a little surprised at. The quarterback didn’t play well. Not sure why. It’s a great defense. That’s not to take anything away from Alabama. Nobody’s really done much on them.”

Now, Alabama will get into the teeth of its Southeastern Conference schedule. The Tide’s next three games come against ranked opponents in Mississippi State, LSU and Texas A&M. The Bulldogs and Aggies come to Bryant-Denny, but LSU will be a night game in Death Valley. The biggest criticism for Alabama has been that they have yet to be truly tested, but that all changes next week.

“We haven’t played any ranked really high, but we have that coming up,” Jones said. “We’ll certainly be tested and I think we’ll be up for the challenge.”

Alabama will return to Bryant-Denny Stadium for Homecoming against Mississippi State Saturday, Oct. 27. Kickoff is 7:30 CT.

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