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HomeSportsTennessee Vols Football heads south to take on #1 Alabama Crimson Tide

Tennessee Vols Football heads south to take on #1 Alabama Crimson Tide

Tennessee (2-4 | 1-2 SEC) at #1 Alabama (6-0 | 3-0 SEC)

Saturday, October 19th, 2019 | 8:00pm CT |
Tuscaloosa, AL | Bryant-Denny Stadium | ESPN

Tennessee Volunteers - UT VolsKnoxville, TN – The Tennessee Vols football team and the Alabama Crimson Tide will meet for the 102nd time on Saturday night as the Volunteers travel to Tuscaloosa for a primetime showdown with the Crimson Tide.

The Big Orange will be looking to carry over the momentum they gained from their 20-10 victory over Mississippi State last week and take down the top-ranked Crimson Tide for the first time since 2006.

Tennessee Volunteers look to take down #1 Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, Saturday. (UT Athletics)
Tennessee Volunteers look to take down #1 Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, Saturday. (UT Athletics)

Saturday’s contest will be televised on ESPN at 8:00pm (CT) with Steve Levy (PxP), Brian Griese (analyst), Todd McShay (field analyst) and Molly McGrath (sideline) on the call.

Fans can also listen to Tennessee’s radio broadcast on the Vol Network (WIVK-FM 107.7) as well as satellite radio (XM Ch. 383, Internet Ch. 972). Bob Kesling (PxP), Tim Priest (analyst) and Brent Hubbs (analyst) will call the action all season long. 

The Third Saturday in October

Tennessee and Alabama’s rivalry is one of the most storied in college football, featuring some of college football’s most iconic coaches and players. The series dates all the way back to 1901 when the teams played to 6-6 tie in Birmingham. Since 1928, the Vols and Tide have played every year except for 1943. UT dominated the series in the late 90s and early 2000s, but Bama has had the upper hand as of late with 12 straight wins.

Saturday’s meeting will mark just the 14th time the teams have squared off in Tuscaloosa as the game was routinely played in Birmingham when Alabama was the home team. The Crimson Tide did not start playing their homes games in the series in Tuscaloosa until 1999.

Alabama Connections

You won’t find many coaching staffs more familiar with Alabama’s program than Tennessee’s. Head coach Jeremy Pruitt played at Alabama from 1995-96 and spent two separate stints on the Tide’s coaching staff, including serving as their defensive coordinator from 2016-17 before taking over at UT.

The Vols’ staff also features six assistant coaches who have spent time at Alabama. Kevin Sherrer, Will Friend, Derrick Ansley, Chris Rumph, Brian Niedermeyer and Chris Weinke have all coached or served in support staff roles for Alabama prior to joining Pruitt’s staff at Tennessee.

Late Night Football in T-Town

Saturday’s game, which is slated to kick off at 8:00pm CT (9:00pm ET), will be the first night game between the two programs in Tuscaloosa since 2011 (6:30pm CT kick). The Vols are 4-1 all-time in 8:00pm CT kicks since 1971 with a pair of Liberty Bowl wins in 1971 and 1974, a 2001 victory at Arkansas and a 2004 win at Ole Miss.

Orange Swarm

Tennessee is coming off its best defensive performance of the season in last week’s 20-10 win over Mississippi State. The Vols held the Bulldogs to season lows in points (10) and total yards (267) while registering 10 tackles for loss, seven sacks and three interceptions.

The seven sacks were UT’s most in an SEC game since also posting seven on November 22nd, 2008 at Vanderbilt. The Big Orange have recorded multiple interceptions in three of their last four games and have had seven different players pick off a pass this season.

The Orange and White also limited the SEC’s leading rusher, Kylin Hill, to just 13 yards on 11 carries. Hill entered the game averaging 119.2 yards rushing per contest.

Three UT Vols Earn Weekly Honors

Tennessee had three players earn weekly honors following last week’s victory. Junior offensive lineman Trey Smith earned SEC Co-Offensive Lineman of the Week honors and was named to the PFF College SEC Team of the Week.

Senior defensive back Nigel Warrior and redshirt senior outside linebacker Darrell Taylor joined Smith on the PFF College SEC Team of the Week as well.

Morris and To’o To’o Named Midseason Freshman All-Americans

UT’s true freshman duo of offensive lineman Wanya Morris and linebacker Henry To’o To’o was recognized by The Athletic on Wednesday. Morris and To’o To’o were both named to the outlet’s Midseason Freshman All-America team.

Morris has started five of the team’s first six games at left tackle while To’o To’o has started all six contests and ranks second on the team with 34 tackles.

UT Vols Series History: Alabama

Crimson Tide lead series, 56-38-7
The Vols will be looking to snap a 12-game skid to the Tide on Saturday. UT’s current losing streak to Alabama is the longest for either team in the series. Tennessee has not won in Tuscaloosa since a five-overtime thriller back in 2003.

About the Alabama Crimson Tide

The Crimson Tide enter Saturday’s game ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll and the Amway Coaches’ Poll following a 47-28 victory at No. 24 Texas A&M last weekend.

Alabama is led by head coach Nick Saban, who has compiled a 152-21 record and won five National Championships during his 13 seasons as head coach in Tuscaloosa.

The Tide feature a high-powered offense that ranks near the top of the SEC and the country in the vast majority of categories. Alabama ranks second in the nation in scoring (51.0 ppg), third in passing offense (366.0 ypg) and sixth in total offense (536.8 ypg) due in large part to the play of junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as well as a deep and talent group of wide receivers.

Tagovailoa leads the nation with 27 passing touchdowns while throwing just one interception. He also ranks third nationally with 335.2 passing yards per game. The trio of DeVonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III have combined for 98 receptions, 1,568 receiving yards and 20 touchdown catches.

Defensively, Alabama is allowing just 17.0 points per game, which ranks fourth in the SEC and 14th in the country. Junior defensive back Xavier McKinney leads the team and ranks third in the SEC with 47 tackles to go along with an interception, forced fumble and fumble recovery. The linebacker duo of Anfernee Jennings and Terrell Lewis have combined for 13.0 tackles for loss and eight sacks.


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