Notes From Tide Win Over Vols
All-time greats Joe Namath (quarterback), Johnny Musso (running back), and Ozzie Newsome (wide receiver) knew something about making plays for Alabama in their day.
Another former quarterback in the press box was Joe Kelley, representing the Music City Bowl in Nashville. Other Bowl games represented were Sugar, Outback, Capital One, and Chic-fil-A.
Alabama failed to score a touchdown against Tennessee, marking the first time in 26 games that the Crimson Tide has not reached the end zone in a game, dating back to a 17-12 loss at Mississippi State on November 10, 2007. The Tennessee game marks the first time in 46 games that Alabama has won without scoring a touchdown dating back to a 6-3 victory over Tennessee on October 22, 2005, in Tuscaloosa.
With the victory on Saturday, Alabama leads the series with Tennessee 47-38-7.
The victory gives Alabama its first three-game series winning streak since winning seven straight games against the Vols from 1986-92. The Tide also has its third straight home win in the series for the first time since winning three in a row at Legion Field from 1987-91.
The victory over Tennessee moves Alabama to 8-0 for the season and, along with a 12-0 start in 2008, this marks the first time since the 1973 and 1974 seasons that Alabama has constructed 8-0 starts in consecutive seasons. Alabama, which finished 12-2 in 2009, finished 11-1 in both 1973 and 1974 as they won 11 straight games prior to losing bowl games in those seasons, the Sugar Bowl vs. Notre Dame (24-23 in 1973) and the Orange Bowl vs. Notre Dame (13-11 in 1974).
Alabama senior placekicker Leigh Tiffin scored all 12 of Alabama's points against Tennessee as he kicked four field goals: a 38-yarder with 1:22 left in the first quarter; a 50-yarder with 7:54 left in the second quarter; a 22-yarder with 1:11 remaining in the second period, and a 49-yarder with 6:31 left in the fourth quarter. The field goals gave the Muscle Shoals native 337 career points to move him ahead of Michael Proctor (326 points from 1992-95) for second place on the Alabama career scoring list. Tiffin passed his father, Van (312 from 1983-86), for third place on the list earlier this season. Leigh Tiffin is eight points shy of Phillip Doyle's school record of 345 points accomplished from 1987-90.
Tiffin's four field goals give him 73 career field goals, second all-time at Alabama.. He surpassed his father, Van Tiffin (59 from 1983-86), earlier this season against North Texas and moved past Michael Proctor vs. Mississippi on October 10. Tiffin's 73 field goals leaves him just five shy of the school record held by Philip Doyle (78 from 1987-90).
Tiffin's 50-yard field goal with 7:54 left in the second quarter is his longest of the 2009 season and the fifth 50-plus--yard field goal of Tiffin's Alabama career. Tiffin's five field goals of 50 or more yards ranks second in Alabama history behind his father, Van Tiffin, who had six of 50 yards or more during his career that spanned 1983-86. Of the 21 field goals of at least 50 yards in Alabama history, the Tiffins have 11. Only Philip Doyle (2 from 1987-90) and Neal Thomas (2 from 1998-2001) among other Bama field goal kickers have eclipsed the 50-yard mark.
Sophomore tailback Mark Ingram lost a fumble with 3:29 remaining in the game, marking the first time in his 22-game Alabama career that he has lost a fumble. It was Ingram's first fumble lost in 296 career rushing attempts and 26 career receptions for a total of 322 career touches. Counting Saturday's fumble, Ingram has only put the ball on the ground twice in his Alabama career – Saturday vs. Tennessee and at LSU in 2008. The fumble at LSU was recovered by the Tide. He has 1,633 rushing yards in those 21 games with 20 rushing touchdowns while also catching 26 passes for 243 yards and three scores.
In addition to putting the game in jeopardy, Ingram's fumble prevented him from getting another carry or so and another yard to make the 100-yard threshold. Ingram, who entered the Tennessee game with 905 yards rushing this season, rushed for 99 yards against the Volunteers, giving him 1,004 rushing yards this season. It marks the 14th 1,000-yard rushing season in Alabama history and Ingram is the 10th individual to do so. He has rushed for 1,004 yards and eight touchdowns this season for a 125.5-yards per game average. Ingram has also added 19 receptions for 186 yards and three scores.
Ingram is the second sophomore in school history to rush for 1,000 yards, joining Kenneth Darby, who ran for 1,062 yards as a sophomore in 2004. Alabama has had at least one 1,000-yard rusher in five of the last seven years. Alabama has had back-to-back 1,000-yard rushers in Glen Coffee (1,383 in 2008) and Mark Ingram (905 in 2009) for the first time since 2003-05 when Shaud Williams (1,367 in 2003) and Kenneth Darby (1,062 in 2004 and 1,242 in 2005) had three straight 1,000-yard seasons.
Ingram tied Shaun Alexander's school record for the fastest player to reach 1,000 rushing yards in a season. Ingram broke the 1,000-yard barrier in the eighth game of the season today against Tennessee. Shaun Alexander also did it in eight games during the 1999 season, surpassing the 1,000-yard barrier with a 98-yard game against Tennessee in 1999.
Sophomore receiver Julio Jones had an active day against Tennessee, notching seven receptions for 54 yards. Jones, whose previous 2009 season high for catches was four against Virginia Tech and Mississippi, entered the game with 13 catches for 175 yards and one touchdown this season. Jones matched his single-game career-high for receptions with seven, previously accomplished against Utah and LSU in 2008.
At least temporarily, Bama's Mark Barron has the Southeastern Conference lead in interceptions. Barron picked off Tennessee's Jonathon Crompton in the first quarter, Barron's fourth of the season. He had gone into the game tied with Vanderbilt's Myron Lewis for the lead. Lewis and the Commodores were to play Saturda night at South Carolina.
Jerrell Harris, sophomore linebacker who had been ineligible for the first half of the season, made his first appearance of the year on Bama's kickoff team.
Starting cornerback Javier Arenas and back-up nose tackle Josh Chapman, both of whom had missed last week's game against South Carolina, were back against Tennessee.
Arenas finished as the game's top defensive player for Alabama with seven solo tackles and six assists, a sack for a 12 yards, and being involved in three other tackles behind the line of scrimmage for another nine yards in losses.
Tennessee didn't take much chance with Arenas returning punts. The Southeastern Conference leader in punt returns has had his hopes of setting new conference and national records dampened as teams do not kick to him. Saturday he had two returns for 33 yards.
Alabama allowed 318 yards of total offense against Tennessee, a season-high allowance for 2009. The previous high yardage allowed was 301 yards against Kentucky on October 3 in Lexington, a 38-20 Alabama victory. The Crimson Tide defense entered the Tennessee game allowing national-best 226.57 yards per game.
By holding Tennessee to 63 rushing yards, Alabama's defense over the past 22 games – or two seasons – has held 19 teams under 100 yards rushing as only LSU and Florida in 2008 and Kentucky in 2009 have been able to crack the 100-yard barrier as a team. In 2009, only Kentucky has managed more than 72 yards rushing on the Tide. UA has surrendered just 1,559 yards on the ground in the last 22 games, an average of 70.9 yards per game. No running back has cracked the 100-yard mark since Mississippi's BenJarvus Green-Ellis went for 131 on Oct. 13, 2007, a span of 27 games.
An 11-yard pass from Jonathan Crompton to Gerald Jones with 1:19 left in the fourth quarter was the first touchdown allowed by the Alabama defense in almost three full games. Prior to the play, Alabama had not allowed a touchdown in 11 quarters (two full games and three quarters). The most recent touchdown allowed by Alabama before that was by Kentucky with 12:52 left in the fourth quarter of a 38-20 win at Lexington on October 3. Prior to this season, the last time Alabama kept three or more consecutive opponents out of the end zone was during the 1990 season when four straight foes failed to score a touchdown. That span included wins on the road at Southwestern Louisiana (W, 25-6), Tennessee (W, 9-6) and Mississippi State (W, 22-0), and a home loss to Penn State (L, 0-9).
Alabama head coach Nick Saban has compiled a 5-1 (.833) career record against Tennessee. He is 3-0 in his career at Alabama, including a 41-17 win in 2007 and a 29-9 last year.
Saban has compiled a 27-8 (.771) record in his career with the Tide.
Alabama starting tight end Colin Peek suffered a strained knee in pre-game warm-ups and played only one snap.
Tennessee wore white jerseys for the game (and orange pants). Tennessee had asked Alabama permission to wear orange jerseys. Alabama declined. Tennessee could have worn orange jerseys, but would have suffered a 15-yard penalty prior to kickoff of both halves (ir they wore them both halves).
All-time Alabama wide receiver Ozzie Newsome (1974-77)l, now general manager of the Baltimore Ravens of the NFL, was the honorary captain for the Crimson Tide.
Captains for Bama against Tennessee were offensive guard Mike Johnson, linebacker Rolando McClain, safety Baron Huber (from Knoxville), and sophomore wide receiver Julio Jones.
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