Notes from Alabama’s 49-10 win over Tennessee Saturday

Alabama has longest winning streak in major college football

Starters for Alabama at Tennessee Saturday included Lester Cotton at right guard for injured Alphonse Taylor, middle linebacker Reuben Foster who had been injured last week, and Bo Scarbrough, getting his first start at tailback.

Alabama finished the game with a pair of 100-yard rushers as quarterback Jalen Hurts (132 yards) and Scarbrough (109 yards) eclipsed the century mark. Earlier this year Hurts and Damien Harris both had over 100 yards rushing against Ole Miss (Hurts 146, Harris 144).

Scarbrough finished out the scoring for Alabama in the 49-10 win over Tennessee in Knoxville Saturday with an 85-yard run from scrimmage.

That was one of several dramatic touchdowns against Tennessee.

The Tide also got a 58-yard interception return by Ronnie Harrison, a 45-yard run by quarterback Jalen Hurts, a 29-yard run on a double reverse by wide receiver ArDarius Stewart, and a 79-yard punt return by Eddie Jackson among the seven TDs.

Harrison’s 58-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter and Jackson’s 79-yard fourth quarter punt return are the 56th and 57th non-offensive touchdowns of the Nick Saban era and the 10th and 11th for Alabama this season, which leads the nation and is a single-season record in the Saban era.

Alabama has now scored a four defensive touchdowns in its last three games.

Harrison has two defensive scores this year, having scored on a 55-yard fumble scoop and score against Kentucky.

This season Jackson now has a two punt returns for TDs (the other 85 yards against Ole Miss) and an interception return for a TD (55 yards) against Western Kentucky.

Alabama has scored at least one non-offensive touchdown in each of its last nine games – four interceptions, four fumble returns, three punt returns and a kickoff return – dating back to the College Football Playoff semifinal vs. Michigan State on Dec. 31, 2015.

Here are notes from the Tide’s Saturday victory:

Alabama has the longest winning streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision, having won 19 consecutive games dating back to last season (last loss: Sept. 19, 2015 vs. Ole Miss). The 19-game streak is tied for the fourth-longest in school history (the record is 28 games, accomplished twice: 1991-93 & 1978-80) and matches the longest under the direction of head coach Nick Saban (19 games 2009-10). During the current stretch the Crimson Tide have won eight games at Bryant-Denny Stadium, seven road games and four consecutive neutral-site games while going 12-0 against teams from the Southeastern Conference. During the streak, Alabama has outscored its opponents by 473 points (735-262; 38.7-13.8), an average of 24.9 points per game.

Through six games in 2016, the Alabama defense had limited its opponents to 415 total yards on the ground. The 69.2 yards per game average ranked No. 1 in the FBS. The Crimson Tide had held its opponents to 2.2 yards per carry so far this season. All those figures improve after Saturday as Bama held the Vols to 32 yards on 32 carries. That means Alabama has now allowed 447 yards in seven games, or 63.9 per game.

 With his first quarter sack of Josh Dobbs was the 23rd of Jonathan Allen’s career, moving him from fifth to a tie for third on the Alabama career sack list, joining Jarrett Johnson (1999-2002). The Crimson Tide’s all-time leader for career sacks is Derrick Thomas (1985-88) with 52.0. Kindal Moorehead (1998-2002) is second with 25.

Alabama turned in three sacks Saturday with Reuben Foster and Tim Williams also getting sacks against Tennessee.

Alabama’s 438 yards rushing against the Vols was the most for the Tide since rushing for 451 yards against Tennessee in 1986. (Tide cornerback Marlon Humphrey’s father Bobby rushed for 217 in that 1986 win over the Vols.)

Bama had 594 yards of offense against the Vols, the most ever by Alabama against Tennessee and the most by the Tide against any opponent since gaining 591 against San Jose State in 2010. Alabama’s previous high against Tennessee was 562 yards in 1989.

Alabama’s scored 49 points was the third-most points ever scored by the Crimson Tide against the Volunteers. Alabama scored 56 points in a 56-28 win during the 1986 campaign and shut out the Volunteers, 51-0, in 1906.

Alabama’s 39-point win over Tennessee was the second-largest victory margin in the series by either team, ranking only behind Alabama’s 51-0 victory in 1906. The margin also eclipsed a pair of 35-point victories by Alabama in 1963 (35-0) and 2013 (45-10).

ArDarius Stewart’s 29-yard first quarter touchdown extended Alabama’s first half scoring streak to 125 games, the longest streak in the nation. 

Alabama’s school record consecutive games scoring streak was extended to 205 games.

Jalen Hurts’ three rushing touchdowns is a new career high in that category. The freshman previously rushed for two scores at Arkansas on Oct. 8 and vs. USC in his collegiate debut on Sept. 3. Hurts has rushed for eight touchdowns and 428 yards in seven games this season.

Tennessee Coach Butch Jones made an interesting (and probably correct) decision following Alabama’s first touchdown. The kickoff went to Evan Berry at the 7 and he returned it 38 yards to the UT 45. On the play, the Vols were guilty of holding and Bama was guilty of a personal foul. If Jones had accepted the penalty against Alabama, it would have been a rekick. Instead, Jones declined the penalty, Alabama accepted the call against the Vols, and Tennessee started its drive at its 35. But it’s not often a team declines a personal foul penalty.

Captains for Alabama were O.J. Howard, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Ryan Anderson.

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Attendance was 102,455.

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