Tennessee-Alabama saw a surprisingly hot start from the Vols that gave the Crimson Tide fits until the fourth quarter when the Tide dropped 28 points to win 52-24 at home. Despite the loss, the Vols were able to put on a solid showing against one of the nation's top teams on ESPN's 7:00 p.m. ET primetime slot. The game marked the first time the Vols had scored more than 21 points against the Tide since 2003, and it was the first game Alabama had trailed by seven or more points at home at the end of the first quarter since 2012.
On top of all that, first-year head coach Josh Heupel's Vols were able to display their ability to hit deep shots and block punts in front of 100,477 fans at Bryant-Denny Stadium, along with an average of 4.7 million viewers at home, according to ESPN Press Room.
Tennessee-Alabama's 4.7 million average viewers not only make the Vols' Week 8 matchup the most-watched college football game of the weekend on cable television but of the entire year. (See tweet below from Greg McElroy, college football commentator for ESPN)
The game also served as the most viewed Tennessee-Alabama rivalry game since 2016, when both teams were ranked inside the top 10. Alabama won that game 49-10.
ESPN Press Room also states that the ESPN networks "were responsible for two-thirds of all college football game minutes watched in Week 8," and a big reason was the traffic generated from Tennessee-Alabama.
The Vols get a much needed week off following the Alabama loss and will set their sights on heading to Lexington, Kentucky to take on the Wildcats on November 6 at 7:00 p.m. ET.
As for Alabama, the Crimson Tide will have their open week in Week 9 in preparation for rival LSU on November 6.
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