Tennessee-Alabama Preview: Will the Tide Turn on Saturday?

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Saturday 20 October 2012 | 7:00 pm EDT
Neyland Stadium (102,455) | Knoxville, TN | ESPN

***

The motivation, as articulated by Vol linebacker Herman Lathers:

We know we have a big game coming up this weekend against the No. 1 team in the nation. You know, if you don’t come prepared they’re going to embarrass you.

Or potentially even if you do come prepared.

***

The Crimson Tide comes to Neyland Stadium on Saturday for the 94th edition of the Alabama-Tennessee rivalry game. Here is a potpourri of what they bring with them.

  • Lead the nation in total defense, scoring defense, run defense and pass efficiency defense.
  • Lead the nation with averages of 7.5 points allowed /181.2 yards allowed after giving up 8.2 /183.6 last season.
  • Tied for fourth nationally with 11 INTs.
  • Cornerback Dee Milliner has two picks and 12 pass breakups to lead the nation with 2.8 passes defended per game.
  • Ranked second in the SEC in turnover margin at +13. 
  • On offense, one of only three FBS teams not giving up an INT this season. QB A. J. McCarron has thrown 12 TD passes.
  • Have ‘recovered’ from the loss of seven 2011 starters, including three NFL first-round draft picks.
  • The current win streak over Tennessee is its longest in this series since a seven-game run 1986-1992.
  • Lead the series 48-38-7. A win Saturday would be their third consecutive in Knoxville.

And here is what Tennessee brings to the table.

  • Offense is ranked in the top 25 nationally with 482.3 yards and 38.0 points per game.
  • Cordarrelle Patterson is second in the SEC in all-purpose yardage with 835 yards.
  • QB Tyler Bray has thrown for an SEC-best 16 touchdowns.
  • Bray ranks second in the SEC with 1,730 yards, just behind Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson.
  • On passes of 15 yards or longer in the Vols’ three losses (Florida, Georgia and Mississippi State), Bray has completed just 30 percent of his passes with no touchdowns and three interceptions.
  • In the three SEC games, has turned the ball over eight times and only forced three turnovers (-5 margin).
  • Allowed only three sacks all season (Alabama averages 3.2 sacks per game).
  • Run defense is 11th in the SEC (178.7 yards per game).
  • Give up 31.5 points per game, their worst average since allowing 42.7 in a six-game 1893 season.
  • Give up 429.9 yards per contest, the worst showing since the school began recording that statistic in 1950.
  • Seeking their first victory over a top-ranked team since a 38-20 win over Auburn in 1985.
  • Has scored 17 or less points in last eight games against Alabama.
  • Hasn’t scored more than 10 points in any of the last four games against Bama.
  • Lost 10 of last 11 conference games.
  • Are 0-13 against Top 25 opponents in Derek Dooley’s tenure.
  • The Vols’ best running back, Rajion Neal, will not play due to a high ankle sprain.

***

That’s all I can say.

Except for the fact that Peyton Manning is in town for street dedication ceremonies Friday and game ceremonies on Saturday. Maybe a little of his Monday Night’s magic can rub off on the Volunteers.

But it is the defense that needs the help.

Alabama 34  Tennessee 17

Go Vols!

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9 responses to “Tennessee-Alabama Preview: Will the Tide Turn on Saturday?”

  1. rockytop78rockytop78 says :

    Unfortunately, the only thing that may keep Alabama from scoring over 50 points will be the complete and total exhaustion of their running backs after the first three quarters, because they will have spent so much time running over and through the Tennessee defense:

    Alabama 49
    Tennessee 14

  2. BIlly and Sandy says :

    I’m conflicted… my heart wants to think that the Vols are capable of pulling off the major upset… hey, it does happen.

    Unfortunately, this big red machine doesn’t appear to have any soft spot.

    I think the Vols will score, there are skill players, and if Hunter can make a couple of plays along with Patterson, then maybe 3 touchdowns.

    But I’m afraid the Bama offense will roll against the Vol defense. Saban does tend to let off the gas when a game is out of hand. So my final prediction is:

    Tide: 45
    Vols: 21

    Going to put a lot of pressure on to keep from going 0-5 next weekend in Columbia.

  3. BIlly says :

    Well Tennessee isn’t looking so hot right now. I think we can all agree on that. And their running game also doesn’t look too promising. But, They can make long passes, which I think is a good thing when you’re playing such a good defense, like Alabama. So I suppose you guys were sucked into the trap of saying they’d beat Florida, so I guess I’m sucked into the one saying we’ll beat Alabama.

    Tennessee 27
    Alabama 24

  4. tk says :

    the third saturday in october………didnt that used to mean something? and it still does in the overalll scheme of things, but today i dont think we will want to remember it or talk about it much. too much on one side, not nearly enough on the other, so here goes. and ive left my gut feelings out of it this week.
    CRIMSON TIDE 40–VOLUNTEARS 24

  5. bert says :

    i’ve got a bad feeling about this…

    ‘bama 48
    vols 10

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