Tennessee suffers third straight loss as heat turns up on Butch Jones
TUSCALOOSA, Ala-Bo Scarbrough had two fourth-down touchdown runs and No. 1 Alabama continued its domination of rival Tennessee with a 45-7 victory on Saturday.
The Crimson Tide (8-0, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) improved to 11-0 in the traditional Third Saturday in October game under coach Nick Saban while dealing another blow to the slumping Volunteers (3-4, 0-4) and embattled coach Butch Jones.
Alabama outgained Tennessee 604-108 in total yards even with reserves manning the offensive backfield most of the second half.
Scarbrough’s two 1-yard scores came with defensive linemen Da’Ron Payne and Quinnen Williams as lead blockers.
Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts capped the opening second half drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to tight end Irv Smith and then watched from the sidelines the rest of the way.
The Vols did snap a streak of 12-plus quarters without a touchdown after that move. Linebacker Daniel Bituli intercepted Tua Tagovailoa’s pass and raced 97 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown.
Tagovailoa added big plays after his mistake. He scored on a 23-yard run and then hit fellow freshman Henry Ruggs III for a 60-yard touchdown with 4:49 left. Ruggs has five catches this season, all going for scores.
Alabama made a goal-line stand in the fourth quarter with the stands mostly still packed and fans celebrating almost like it was a game-saver.
Tennessee has lost eight of its last 10 SEC games. Making his second career start, Jarrett Guarantano was held to 44 yards on 9-of-16 passing and sacked four times. Tailback John Kelly gained 63 yards on 12 carries.
Alabama’s defense was strong as ever, but the offense and special teams each had turnovers. Hurts was a solid 13-of-21 passing for 198 yards. Damien Harris ran for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Tennessee defensive end Jonathan Kongbo had two personal foul penalties that helped set up Alabama touchdowns. Then, defensive back Rashaan Gaulden topped that by flipping a double bird to Alabama’s student section after the Vols’ pick-six, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Tennessee visits fellow SEC East team Kentucky next week seeking its first league win.
Alabama has an open date before hosting No. 24 LSU.