KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Alabama football appeared to have the game won.
Kool-Aid MacKinstry was running towards the goal line and, even with the possibility of not making it, however, his Crimson Tide appeared to be in control. Alabama was leading in the closing minutes of the game on Saturday and was on the verge of having the ball deep inside Tennessee Vols territory.
But wait. There was an American flag. Pass interference was observed in Alabama.
The game was set to come back. Then, shortly following, Tennessee tied the game.
The Crimson Tide, whether it was at the beginning of the game or towards the end, was unable to overcome the way of its own.
Tennessee made the most of an incomplete field goal late in the game, and the Vols hit the game-winning shot at the end of the game to defeat Alabama 52 49 on the field at Neyland Stadium. Tennessee ended the streak of losing 15 times to Alabama.
Here are some observations and lessons from the match between No. 1 Alabama (6-1, 3-1 SEC) and No. 8 Tennessee (6-0, 3-0).
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Defense is a struggle with Hendon Hooker and company, outside of a couple of turnovers
Alabama was fully aware of the speed at it operates. Vols offense plays. The subject was frequently discussed throughout the course of the week. Being aware of it frequently was not a problem, but.
The Crimson Tide struggled to slow Tennessee’s speedy offense. In a blink, the Vols already had run a few plays. The speedy pace prevented Alabama from impacting Hooker as the Vol’s offense took off into the first quarter. Tennessee was already scoring three points at the close of the first quarter.
Hooker and receivers were able to continue finding areas of coverage that were weak, and Alabama had to come up with ways to disrupt a normally clear space for Hooker. This led to a lot of offensive successes and success for the Vols.
Alabama ended up stopping the bleeding and played several amazing plays. There were several fourth-down stops. DeMarcco Hellams became the first defensive player to stop a Hooker within the span of 11 months. Dallas Turner also recovered a lost fumble to score the score.
But the defense was unable to keep giving away plays late, particularly toward Jalin Hyatt. He smashed his Crimson Tide secondary for 207 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
Then Tennessee ran across the field in the closing minute, which culminated with the winning kick of the game.
Infractions and problems with discipline cause Alabama in a rut early
It seemed almost absurd that Alabama found ways to penalize itself during one of its first-quarter drives.
Then, there was hold during the kickoff return. Tennessee had been leading 14-7 that The Crimson Tide needed to respond. In the opening offensive play, they were hit with another holding penalty imposed. Before Alabama could even run a second play and it was clear that the Crimson Tide had a false beginning. The drive got more difficult after that. Combine the penalty with the Traeshon Holden drops as well as James Burnip soon had to kick off from Alabama’s goal line.
The Crimson Tide reached seven penalties for the game, courtesy of Burnips punt. Over five minutes were left in the opening quarter. In the first half, by itself, Alabama had nine penalties for 70 yards.
These obstacles impeded the progress of the Alabama team which had enough problems with a skilled Tennessee team at an unfriendly Neyland Stadium.
When it comes to mistakes there was none more obvious than Quandarrius Robinson’s mishap with a punt as he attempted to retrieve a lost ball, and Tennessee took care of it. Following the turnover was made, Tennessee took a lead. Vols were leading 28-10 at 11:41 of the first quarter.
the shoulder that Bryce Young wears is far more perfect
Young was injured in the past? He certainly didn’t appear like a player just coming off an injury to his shoulder.
In the week prior to missing the game against. Texas A&M, the current Heisman Trophy winner returned to his old ways as Alabama’s quarterback, creating defenders to miss, stretching plays, and throwing footballs through a small window.
The third-quarter drive that he led to assist Alabama to gain the lead for its debut was a masterclass. Young was the driving force behind a 12-play 75-yard drive that was made possible by his Houdini-like movements and impressive throws. The throw toward tight end Cameron Latu along the right sideline was amazing.
Jahmyr Gibbs has continued to be a player
Outside of Young the person you’d like to be able to play football during crucial moments is Gibbs.
He was able to freeze defenders in the past. He also was a force when it was time to score. He scored three touchdowns rushing toward the 3rd quarter.
On another day of rushing for more than 100 yards for Gibbs, He proved to be the most effective player in the Alabama offense, not named Young.