Alabama takes down Tennessee, move to 7-1 on the season

Composite photo of Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton (WVLT) and Alabama quarterback Jalen...
Composite photo of Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton (WVLT) and Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe (The University of Alabama).(WVLT | The University of Alabama)
Published: Oct. 21, 2023 at 7:16 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 21, 2023 at 7:18 PM EDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - In what is known as one of the greatest rivalries in college football, the ‘Third Saturday In October’ was played Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Crimson Tide were looking to get back in the winners circle in the rivalry after last years 52-49 loss to Tennessee in a historic matchup at Neyland Stadium, the Vols first win in the rivalry since 2006.


Tennessee got the ball first to start the game, and despite the slow starts on offense this season, the Vols offense looked like the Vols of old on their first drive of the game.

In just 8-plays, Joe Milton led the Tennessee offense straight down the field and into the end zone on their opening possession of the game. After short runs from Milton to begin Vols first drive of the game on their own 25-yard line, Milton converted a 3rd & 7 on his own after taking a 9-yard carry for a Tennessee first down. After a few runs from Tennessee RB Jaylen Wright, Milton looked to Vols WR Squirrel White for an 11-gain and another Vols first down. Then, on the next play, Milton found White again down the sidelines who hauled in a fingertip catch for a 39-yard Tennessee touchdown.

Jalen Milroe and the Crimson Tide offense looked to get on the board early and tie the game back up early in the first quarter. However, Milroe and the Tide offense who have had a few slow starts this season, had another slow start Saturday afternoon. Milroe connected with Tide RB Jase McClellan for 6-yards on 1st & 10, but the Tide offense stalled after that. A short Milroe run on second down before a Jase McClellan 3rd down run was stuffed forced the Tide to go three-and-out and punt the ball back to the Volunteers.

The Tide defense stepped up and returned the favor on their second defensive possession of the game Saturday afternoon. After a Jaylen Wright run that went for -4 yards on first down and a second down run that only went for 5-yards, Joe Milton connected with Squirrel White for 7-yards on third down, but was brought down 2-yards short of the first down marker.

After the Tennessee three-and-out, the Tide offense was again looking to get on track. Jalen Milroe connected with Tide WR Malik Benson for 17-yards on 1st & 10, however, the Tide offense stalled after that/. After two Jase McClellan runs, Milroe’s pass on 3rd & 4 intended for Isaiah Bond was incomplete, forcing Alabama to punt the ball again.

After getting the ball back, Joe Milton connected with Vols WR Ramel Keyton for a 14-yard gain and a Vols first down. Then, on 3rd & 8 on their own 37-yard line, the Vols converted another 3rd down, this time with Milton finding Squirrel White again. Then, after a Milton 13-yard run and a Dylan Sampson 12-yard run, Milton again found Keyton for another Tennessee first down. After a few short runs and passes, the Vols offense stalled on the Alabama 6-yard line, settling for a 24-yard Charles Campbell field-goal.

Late in the first quarter now, the Tide and Milroe are still looking to get the ball moving down the field. After a Roydell Williams 6-yard carry and a Milroe incomplete 2nd down pass, the Tide faced a crucial 3rd & 6 on their own 29-yard line. Jalen Milroe scanned the field before being strip-sacked by Tennessee DL James Pearce Jr. and recovered by Omarr Norman-Lott deep in Tide territory, giving the Vols prime field position.

On 1st & 10, Joe Milton connected with Squirrel White again for 14-yards and immediately putting the Vols inside of the Alabama 10-yard line. With their backs against the wall, the Tide defense needed to step up big, and they did exactly that. After an incompletion on first down and a 1-yard Milton run on 2nd down, Milton found Tennessee TE Jacob Warren in the back of the end zone but overthrew him with the pass falling incomplete. The Vols settled for another Charles Campbell field-goal, this time being good from 26-yards.


Tennessee - 13

Alabama - 0


The Tide began the second quarter with the ball back in their possession looking to cut into the Tennessee lead. However, after just 5-plays, the Tide offense stalled again and punted the ball away to the Vols. After a very strong defense possession that saw the Tennessee offense go for -1 yards, Milroe and the Tide offense finally got the ball rolling. After a few short runs and passes, Jalen Milroe connected with Jermaine Burton for 22-yards and a crucial 3rd down conversion all the way down to the Tennessee 24-yard line. After an 11-yard completion to Isaiah Bond, the Vols defense stopped the Tide offense on first and second down inside the 15-yard line. Then, on 3rd & 7, Jalen Milroe found Jermaine Burton in the end zone for the first Alabama touchdown of the afternoon.

The Vols got the ball back after the Alabama touchdown looking to continue their impressive first half on offense. Three consecutive runs by the Tennessee offense had them just short of the first down marker at their own 34-yard line. Tennessee HC Josh Heupel decided to go for it, but the Alabama defense came up big and stuffed the Vols fourth down run, forcing them to turn the ball over on downs.

After the huge 4th down stop, the Tide looked to take their first lead of the game. After short gains on first and second down, Tennessee was called for a defensive delay of game penalty for altering with the snap count, officials and broadcasters said when announcing the penalty. After a new set of downs and a Jase McClellan run on first down, Jalen Milroe looked to the end zone on 2nd & 7, however his pass was intercepted in the end zone and kneeled down for a touchback.

With three minutes remaining in the first half, Tennessee had a 1st & 10 on their own 20-yard line. After a Milton 11-yard run and then a 14-yard completion to Squirrel White, the Vols were quickly up to the 45-yard line. After a 5-yard Jabari Small run, Milton then found Ramel Keyton for 30-yards and a Tennessee first down deep into Alabama territory. Then, on 3rd & goal, Joe Milton connected with McCallan Castles for 6-yards and a Tennessee touchdown going into halftime.


Tennessee - 20

Alabama - 7


The second half was a much different story than the first half for the Crimson Tide. Starting the second half with the ball in their possession, it only took the tide two plays to get in the end zone. After a 29-yard run on the opening play of the second half from Jase McClellan, Jalen Milroe found a wide-open Isaiah Bond way down the field for a 46-yard touchdown pass.

After the huge play from the Crimson Tide to get them back in the game, the defense stepped up just as big on their first defensive possession of the second half forcing a Tennessee three-and-out. On their second offensive possession of the half, Milroe led the Tide offense back down the field again looking for more points. After a completion to CJ Dipree for 15-yards and then another completion to Isaiah Bond for 20-yards, the Tide offense stalled at the Tennessee 24-yard line but were still able to convert on a 42-yard field goal from Will Reichard.

Hanging on to the 20-17 lead halfway through the 3rd quarter, the Vols faced a crucial 3rd & 9 on their own 39-yard line. Joe Milton found Ramel Keyton for 8 yards and nearly a first down, but faced a 4th & 1 that they elected to go for. Facing 4th & 1 on their own 47 yard-line, the Vols run up the middle was stuffed by the Crimson Tide defense, forcing Tennessee to turn the ball over on downs for the second time of the afternoon.

After the turnover on downs, Milroe and the Tide offense immediately got to work. After a 7-yard Jase McClellan run, Jalen Milroe connected with Jermaine Burton for 22-yards down to the Tennessee 18-yard line. Then, on 1st & goal, Jase McClellan took a 5-yard carry into the end zone for an Alabama touchdown and a 24-20 lead.

After turning the Tide on offense in the second half, Alabama’s defense did the exact same thing forcing yet another Tennessee three-and-out late in the third quarter.


Alabama - 24

Tennessee - 20


Starting the fourth quarter with the ball and the lead, the Tide took 7:51 off the clock on their first possession of the quarter that ended with a 50-yard Will Reichard field goal. Between Jalen Milroe and Jase McClellan, the Tide continually ran the ball down the field on the Volunteer defense all the way down to the Vols 36-yard line. Then, on 3rd & 9, an incomplete Milroe pass was negated by a holding call on the Tennessee defense, giving Alabama a fresh set of downs. After not being able to move the ball on the next three plays, the Tide ended the drive with the 50-yard field goal from Reichard, extending their lead.

Now down a touchdown late in the fourth quarter as the sun began to set over Bryant-Denny Stadium, the Vols looked to move the ball down the field on offense for the first time of the second half. On the third play of the drive, Tennessee QB Joe Milton dropped back to pass before being strip-sacked by Chris Braswell and having the fumble recovered by Jihaad Campbell who took the recovery back to the end zone for a huge Alabama defensive touchdown.

The two sides then exchanged punts on their next few possessions, and Tennessee got the ball back one more time looking to do whatever they could to get back in the game. After driving the Vols down the field to the Alabama 14-yard line, Joe Milton’s pass on 4th down fell incomplete, and the Vols turned the ball over for the third time of the game and were shutout in the second half by the stout Alabama defense.


Alabama - 34

Tennessee - 20

Alabama has an open date on their schedule next week before returning to play on November 4 against LSU. Kickoff time for that game at Bryant-Denny has yet to be determined.

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