Tennessee Vols (3-3 | 1-2 SEC) at #1/1 Alabama (7-0 | 4-0 SEC)
Saturday, October 20th, 2018 | 2:30pm CT
Knoxville, TN | Neyland Stadium | TV: CBS
Knoxville, TN – Tennessee Vols Football is fresh off a huge road win over No. 21 Auburn last Saturday, Tennessee returns home to host No. 1 Alabama for its first game in Neyland Stadium in nearly a month.
Kickoff for the annual Third Saturday in October rivalry game will feature a national television broadcast on CBS at 2:30pm CT. Brad Nessler (play-by-play) and Gary Danielson (analyst) will be on the call in the booth while Jamie Erdahl will be reporting from the sidelines.
Vol Network radio affiliates will have a live audio broadcast with Bob Kesling, Tim Priest and Brent Hubbs. Sirius (Channel 103) and XM satellite radio (Channel 191) will also carry the game.
The Volunteers will be looking to earn their second straight conference victory after defeating Auburn on the Plains last Saturday to snap an 11-game SEC losing streak.
That Was Fast
It took only six games for Jeremy Pruitt to win his first road game over a ranked opponent in his young head-coaching career. No active head coach in the SEC achieved that feat quicker. Jimbo Fisher also beat a ranked team on the road in his sixth game as a head coach (Miami, while at FSU).
It took Nick Saban 44 games into his career to accomplish the feat, Kirby Smart 15 games and Will Muschamp 16 games for comparison.
Breakout Performance for Jarrett Guarantano
Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano had a breakout performance in the Vols’ upset win over No. 21 Auburn last week. The redshirt sophomore signal caller set or tied career highs in completions (21) attempts (32), passing yards (328) and passing touchdowns (two) against a defense that entered the game ranked sixth nationally in points allowed.
Guarantano was especially effective on third down, completing 11-of-14 passes, including going 8-of-8 on 3rd-and-8 or longer. The Lodi, NJ, native was named the Maxwell Award National Player of the Week and the SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week, and was also named to the PFF College National Team of the Week.
Jennings Displays Knack for Making Clutch Catches
Redshirt junior wideout Jauan Jennings looks to be back to his 2016 form after missing nearly all of last season with an injury he suffered in the season opener. The Murfreesboro, Tennessee, native is tied for the team lead with two touchdown catches after snagging a 25-yard, go-ahead touchdown reception in the third quarter against Auburn.
Jennings set season highs with five catches for 71 yards in the win over the Tigers. All five of his receptions came on third down with four of them resulting in first downs. Jennings currently ranks second on the team with 17 catches and third with 207 receiving yards.
Tennessee Vols Rack Up Weekly Honors
The Big Orange had five players garner weekly honors following the team’s upset win at Auburn. Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano earned eight separate honors, including Maxwell Award National Player of the Week and SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week.
Senior Kyle Phillips was named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week while Guarantano, Jennings, linebacker Daniel Bituli and defensive back Bryce Thompson were all named to the PFF College SEC Team of the Week.
Tennessee Vols Series History vs. Alabama
Saturday will mark the 101st meeting between the Vols and Crimson Tide. UT is 38-55-7 all-time in the series and 20-25-1 when the game is played in Knoxville. The Big Orange will be looking to snap an 11-game losing streak to Alabama. The Vols’ last victory in the series was a 16-13 win in Knoxville back in 2006.
About Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama enters Saturday’s contest as the top-ranked team in the nation by the AP Poll and the Amway Coaches’ Poll after starting the season 7-0, including a 4-0 mark in SEC play. Alabama has been dominant on both sides of the ball, ranking in the top 16 nationally in total offense (first), total defense (16th), scoring offense (first), scoring defense (seventh) and passing defense (fifth).
The Tide’s explosive offense has been led by sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who leads the country in passing efficiency (248.1) and yards per completion (20.0), while also ranking fourth nationally in touchdown passes (21) and completion percentage (71.5).
The Crimson Tide’s rushing attack has been just as dangerous with the duo of Najee Harris and Damien Harris leading the way. Najee, a sophomore, leads the team with 439 rushing yards while Damien, a senior, isn’t far behind with 423. Junior running back Josh Jacobs leads the team with six rushing touchdowns.
Alabama’s defense is once again one of the best in the country, allowing just 15.1 points per game. The secondary has intercepted 12 passes while the defense has forced 16 total turnovers this season, which ranks sixth in the nation. Senior defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs has lived in opposing teams’ backfields and leads the team with 7.5 sacks and eight tackles for loss.
Dylan Moses and Mack Wilson rank second and third on the team in tackles and have combined for eight tackles for loss from the linebacker position. Defensive back Deionte Thompson leads the team with 40 tackles and is one of four players on the team with multiple interceptions.