Frosh Help Tide Streak Past Vols

Where do you begin to count Alabama mistakes? The kicking game was wretched at times. A penalty took away a touchdown. The running game was hits and misses. But a couple of freshmen were A-Okay, and when the one great BCS scorer counts, it was Alabama 44, Tennessee 13 in Knoxville, and that is a good result.

Number one Alabama improved its record to 7-0, including a 4-0 Southeastern Conference record. Tennessee fell to 3-4, all of the losses in SEC play.

After back-to-back road games, Alabama returns to Bryant-Denny Stadium next Saturday. The Crimson Tide continues in SEC play and has another night game, hosting Mississippi State at 7:30 p.m. CDT. The Bulldogs are also undefeated.

This is the beginning of a tough three-game stretch for the Tide, hosting Mississippi State, going to LSU on Nov. 3, and hosting Texas A&M on Nov. 10.

Although Bama had periods where it was tough to run the ball, Bama ended up a respectable 45 carries for 233 yards, led by freshman T.J. Yeldon with 15 carries for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Eddie Lacy had 17 runs for 79 yards.

Alabama likes balance in its offense and got it with A.J. McCarron hitting 17-22 passes for 306 yards and four touchdowns. His go-to guy was freshman wide receiver Amari Cooper, who had seven receptions for 162 yards and two touchdowns, and had a nice 30-yard touchdown play called back by penalty.

Alabama had 23 first downs to 11 for Tennessee. Bama's defense gave up a few big plays, but did a good job by holding Tennessee to only 2-13 on third down conversions.

Bama finished with 67 plays for 539 yards, an average of 8 yards per play, while the Vols had 58 plays for 282 yards, 4.9 per play. The Vols Tyler Bray completed 13-27 for 184 yards, but suffered two interceptions.

C.J. Mosley continues to lead Alabama defensively. He was in on seven tackles, including one for a loss of six yards, and intercepted a pass that led to a touchdown. Vinnie Sunseri, the sophomore safety son of Tennessee defensive coordinator, was in on six tackles, as was soph linebacker Trey DePriest.

The first quarter was somewhat lackluster. Alabama got almost a gift touchdown when Tennessee failed to cover Amari Cooper, who was wide open in the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter. Punt return man Cyrus Jones got it started with a 32-yard runback to the Tennessee 47. Quarterback AJ McCarron found Cooper on a play action pass for a 12-yard gain to move deep into Vols territory, and on the sixth play of the drive connected with Cooper for the touchdown. Jeremy Shelley kicked the Tide to a 7-0 lead.

Tennessee used a couple of Tyler Bray passes to get the Vols close to the Bama goalline. He hit running back Marlin Lane on a swing pass that gained 26 yards and found Cordarrelle Patterson for 25 yards to a first and goal at the Alabama 9. A second down play – a pitch back to Patterson -- was fumbled for a six-yard loss and the Vols had to settle for a 32-yard Michael Palardy field goal.

Tennessee had scored the first first quarter points of the season against Bama and pulled to within 10-3.

Cade Foster suffered the first of his two missed field goals early in the second quarter, but three plays later C.J. Mosley intercepted for Alabama at the Tennessee 32. Freshman tailback T.J. Yeldon had runs of 8, 4, and 19 yards to a first and goal at the one, and then took it in on fourth down. The ball was mishandled on the hold, and Shelley's extra point kick failed, to leave Bama leading by 13-3.

Although Bama's next drive started at its 28 instead of the Tennessee 47 because of an Alabama holding penalty that wiped out most of Cyrus Jones's 38-yard punt return, the Tide was able to take it 72 yards in just four plays. After a short run, McCarron hit Cooper for a gain of 54 yards to the Tennessee 15. Eddie Lacy ran it to a first-and-goal at the one, and then McCarron crossed up everyone by throwing a pass to a wide open tight end Michael Williams for the touchdown. Shelley's PAT made it 20-3.

The Vols struck quickly for a touchdown. Patterson returned akickoff 45 Yards to the Alabama 48 and on second down Bray caught Alabama in a blitz and hit tight end Mychal Rivera over the middle for 43 yards to the Tide 5. After a half-the-distance penalty against Bama, A.J. Johnson worked at wildcat and took it in on to close the score to 20-10.

Bama bounced back with a 34-yard Shelley field goal with 1:24 before intermission for a 23-10 Bama halftime lead. McCarron had pass completions of 14 to Cooper and 29 to Kenny Bell in the drive.

Alabama broke it open in the second half.

After a couple of abbreviated drives, Bama got good field position when Tennessee came up short on a fourth-and-one try at the Alabama 33. It looked like the drive was going to be stopped before it could get going, but McCarron got a desperation pass off to Lacy for a first down to keep it alive. Lacy then had a couple of nice runs to the Tennessee 42. On a first-and-10, McCarron uncorkced deep to Cooper, who took it between two Vols and went in for the touchdown. With 3:31 to play in the third quarter, Bama had opened it up to 30-10.

Tennessee threatened with Bray hitting Justin Hunter for a 44-yard gain to the Alabama 18, but on the next play Robert Lester intercepted in the end zone for the Tide.

Alabama followed the takeaway with another quick touchdown drive. Yeldon had five consecutive runs, including one of 13 and one of 16, to move the ball to the Tennessee 39. On a second-and-eight, McCarron hit Bell on the right sideline and the junior turned it into a 39-yard touchdown reception to get it out to 37-10 with just under 13 minutes left in the game.

Bama's final touchdown came following a desperation fourth down play that ended in an incomplete pass for the Vols and gave Alabama the ball at the Tide 42. Lacy had runs of 9 and 6 and then Yeldon took a handoff, popped to the outside, and raced 43 yards for the touchdown that gave Bama a 44-10 lead.

Blake Sims took over at quarterback late in the game for Alabama and gave up a fumble at the Tide 24. That led to a 21-yard field goal byTennessee's Palardy that finished the scoring with just under four minutes to play.

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