Alabama Football Defeats Tennessee 48-17, Extends Streak to 14 Straight
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Alabama football might have won big in its game at Tennessee on Saturday afternoon, but it also suffered a major loss.
The No. 2-ranked Crimson Tide put away the Volunteers 48-17 in Neyland Stadium, earning their 14th consecutive victory over the Volunteers. However, during the opening kickoff junior wide receiver Jaylen Waddle suffered a season-ending injury to his right ankle.
Alabama coach Nick Saban confirmed at the half that Waddle suffered a high-ankle sprain with a fracture and will be out for the rest of the year.
"Really a sad time for me, for Jaylen Waddle and his family," Saban said after the game. "He's got a very similar injury to what Kenyan Drake had [Drake suffered that injury during the 2014 season at Ole Miss]. It's a high-ankle sprain but also a fracture so they'll probably have to do surgery on him."
Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Slade Bolden replaced Waddle and had a solid game, recording six receptions for 49 yards.
Aside from the injury to Waddle, the Crimson Tide cruised. Quarterback Mac Jones finished the game 25-for-31 with 387 yards and one rushing touchdown. Jones would have had his fourth consecutive game with 400-plus passing yards, but Saban pulled him from the game in the fourth quarter and replaced him with freshman Bryce Young.
Jones started the game with 11 consecutive completions before he threw his first incompletion with eight minutes left in the second quarter. Combine those 11 completions with his eight consecutive to end last week's game against Georgia, and Jones now holds the new Alabama program record for most-consecutive completions with 19.
The record breaks Greg McElroy's record of 16, which he set back in the 2010 season.
Senior running back Najee Harris came within four yards of having his third straight 100-plus rushing yard performance. Much like Jones, Harris sat on the sidelines for most of the fourth quarter, holding him to 96 yards on 20 attempts and three touchdowns. Harris also had six receptions for 61 yards.
In addition to Waddle's injury, redshirt senior offensive lineman Deonte Brown was also sidelined with an injured shoulder as well as redshirt senior tight end Miller Forristall. While Forristall eventually returned to the game, Brown remained out.
Saban later confirmed that he and senior running back Brian Robinson, Jr. were dinged up, but were expected to be fine.
Sophomore wide receiver John Metchie believes that his team performed well despite all of the injures it suffered.
"I think we did good," Metchie said. "It's part of the sport. Guys get banged up. It's kind of the 'next man up' mentality and fighting through it. I think as a unit and as a team we did a really good job of fighting through that adversity."
With Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt, the game marks four consecutive wins for Saban this season over former assistants. All in all, Saban is now 23-0 against head coaches who formerly worked for him.
For the Volunteers, senior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano threw 13-for-24 for 162 yards and two touchdowns. The best running back of the game for Tennessee was Eric Gray, who had 19 carries for 57 yards.
In its best performance of the season, the Crimson Tide defense held the Volunteers to 302 total yards, with 163 of those yards coming in the air and 139 on the ground. The 17 points scored by Tennessee were also the least allowed by Alabama all season.
Alabama now moves to 5-0 on the season with the win. Tonight's game for Tennessee marks its third consecutive loss, bringing the Volunteers to 2-3 on the year.
"It's always a great win," Saban said. "It's a great rivalry game. I know it means a lot to a lot of people in the state of Alabama and certainly proud of our players for the effort that they put in and the game we played. It's always good to win."