Tide, Vols Reflect on 3rd Saturday Romp
"Make them one-dimensional. Do your job," Darren Mustain said of a Tide defense's theme that worked to the tune of but 17 Tennessee points, all in the first half.
"Once we settled down and did our jobs, the offense started scoring. We looked up at the scoreboard, and the game was over," Mustin, who hails from Brentwood, (Tenn.), says he won't wait unitl the holidays to head home after this win, with wardrobe plans.
"I'm going home next week," he grinned, "and I'm wearing Alabama everything."
For his part, senior nickel back Simeon Castille wanted to thank the Tide offense, which earned a 37:38 to 22:22 advantage in time of possession. "It's huge for us (on defense) not to be on the field," Castille noted.
"Our offense was eating up the clock. They were clicking today. We were fresh (on defense), and able to go out and give it all we've got."
Castille totaled four tackles, but added both a quarterback hurry and a pass breakup against Vols starter Erik Ainge.
One man responsible in part for the offense's breakout day and 510-362 total yardage advantage was junior quarterback John Parker Wilson, who went 32-46 for a career-high 363 yards, three touchdowns and a 2-point conversion pass.
"I just had a real good feel for the game today. We knew we could do it," Wilson said of the work-in-progress Tide offense. "We knew we hadn't put a whole game together."
"They were playing the safety over the top. It's not like we were throwing the ball deep. It makes it easy when guys are getting open."
Wilson hit D.J. Hall a school record 13 times for 185 yards and 14 points, including the jugular-bursting two-point conversion after Bama's final touchdown. Wilson said the team was unaware until Saturday morning that it would be without the services of five suspended players.
"We found out today," he said. "We were in the dark last night, and didn't really know what was going to happen, but it gave some guys the opportunity to step up, and they did. They played very well."
Hall continues to break school records. "It is a blessing," he said, as he has each time he's shattered a Bama receiving mark, whether it be the yardage of Ozzie Newsome or the catches by Freddie Milons.
"Some guys don't have the opportunity I've had," he added.
"I have big games against Tennessee," understated the senior, who annually burns the Big Orange. "Other guys got open and made plays, too. It's hard to stop us. It's hard to cover a receiver (like himself) in the slot."
Another Tider who got rave reviews was freshman cornerback Kareem Jackson, who intercepted a pair of passes in his first Third Saturday game.
"Big time players make big time plays in big time situations. That's enough said," said Wallace Gilberry. "He is a young player. A true freshman, so he could definitely be the next Simeon Castille here."
Junior safety Rashad Johnson is also a Kareem Jackson fan.
"He had an excellent day. Earlier in the day, he was talking about he had some back problems. He was a little hurt. He came out and played tough all day, and made some big plays for us."
As could be expected, the mood in the visitors' locker room was a bit more somber.
"I do not think we played very well. We helped them out a lot today," said Vols coach Phillip Fulmer, who is now 10-4-1 on the field against the Tide, not including a 1993 tie the NCAA later awarded to Tennessee.
"We'll look forward to putting this thing behind us."
Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge said his offense produced a recipe for disaster.
"Third and short and penalties," were what he said held the Vols back. "We moved the ball pretty well… and we'd have a bad snap or a miscue to the receiver or a bad throw. It was one little stupid thing after another that kept us from completing drives."
Ainge added that an injury to star receiver Lucas Taylor didn't help matters, "We definitely missed him. He's a great player and a great receiver. He's not feeling great. I give him credit for being out there and trying to play."
Taylor had 15 yards on a pair of grabs.
"It definitely wasn't the type of game we expected," said Vols linebacker Jerod Mayo. It's Tennessee and Alabama. Today, we came out expecting to play as good as any game we've played. (Alabama) came out and did a great job. John Parker Wilson did a great job of making checks at the line of scrimmage and just making great plays."
'Bama now heads into a bye week. Tennessee hosts South Carolina next week.
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