RECAP: After a three-and-out by Alabama, Tennessee marched to the Tide 29-yard line only to see Cedric Houston lose a fumble at the 25. Bama stalled again but Mark Jones fumbled while trying to fair-catch the Tide punt. Bama's Roberto McBride recovered at the Vol 26-yard line. J.T. Mapu sacked Brodie Croyle on third-and-six at the Vol 8-yard line, forcing Bama to settle for a 33-yard field goal by Brian Bostick and a 3-0 lead. A 28-yard run on an end-around by Derrick Tinsley got Tennessee in Bama territory but Casey Clausen fumbled when sacked by Juwan Garth, and Bama's DeMeco Ryans recovered at midfield.
KEY PLAY: Vol ''up man'' Chris Heath appeared to bump into Mark Jones, causing Jones to fumble the punt that set up Bama's field goal.
KEY PLAYER: Shaud Williams. In a quarter dominated by the defenses, Bama's star tailback carried seven times for 29 yards. He gained eight yards on the short drive that set up the Tide's go-ahead field goal.
KEY STAT: Tennessee surrendered three turnovers (all fumbles) in the quarter, killing two UT drives and setting up Bama's field goal. The Tide did not commit a turnover.
RECAP: Alabama's first possession of the quarter saw two key injuries occur. Vol safety Rashad Baker twisted a knee on first down and would miss the remainder of the game. Bama's Croyle was belted by Constantin Ritzmann a split-second after unloading a third-down incompletion, reinjuring Croyle's separated left shoulder. Croyle fought through the pain, however, and directed the Tide on a long drive that carried to a first-and-goal at the Vol 2-yard line. The Tide blew the opportunity, however, by giving up two minus-yardage plays and a blocked field goal. Tennessee then zoomed from its 27-yard line to the Tide 14 -- the big play being a 47-yard completion from Casey Clausen to James Banks. The drive stalled, so James Wilhoit tied the score at 3-3 by nailing a 31-yard field goal with 48 seconds left to intermission. Bama seemed content to run out the clock but Williams popped a first-down draw play 44 yards to the Vol 30-yard line, and Bostick hit a 48-yard field goal three plays later to give Bama a 6-3 lead 13 seconds shy of halftime.
KEY PLAY: Williams' 44-yard run cost Tennessee a 3-3 tie and gave Bama the lead and the momentum going to the locker room.
KEY PLAYER: Robert Peace. With Bama facing second-and-goal at the UT 2-yard line, the Vol middle linebacker made back-to-back big plays. He stopped Williams for a one-yard loss on second down, then threw Croyle for a six-yard loss on third down, forcing the field goal attempt which was blocked by Jason Allen.
KEY STAT: Alabama ran 13 times for 106 yards in the second quarter. For the half, Bama kept the ball for 19 minutes and 30 seconds to UT's 10 minutes and 30 seconds. Oddly, both teams gained precisely 169 yards in the first two periods. Alabama's came on 36 passing yards and 133 rushing yards, while UT's came on 46 rushing yards, 123 passing yards.
RECAP: Because of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the final play of the first half, Bama had to kick off from its 20-yard line to start the second half. Tennessee exploited the opportunity by scoring its first touchdown of the game. Corey Larkins returned 16 yards to the Vol 41-yard line. Five runs by Houston moved the ball to the Tide 25-yard line. On third-and-three, UT put James Banks at quarterback and Clausen split wide right. Banks ran a QB draw, broke a few tackles early and scored to give Tennessee a 10-6 lead. On Bama's ensuing possession, Vol freshman safety Corey Campbell made a diving interception at the Tide 43-yard line. A 16-yard completion from Clausen to C.J. Fayton got UT in position for Wilhoit to hit a 39-yard field goal, padding the Vol lead to 13-6. That score lasted less than four minutes, however. Bama drove 65 yards in seven plays, scoring on a perfectly thrown 35-yard TD pass from Croyle to Triandos Luke, tying the score at 13-13.
KEY PLAY: The 35-yard pass from Croyle to Luke, who got behind Vol cornerback Jason Allen and safety Gibril Wilson to score the tying touchdown.
KEY PLAYER: Banks and Croyle (tie). Banks' 25-yard touchdown on the quarterback draw gave the struggling Tennessee offense its first touchdown -- and first lead -- of the game. Croyle completed six of seven passes in the quarter for 67 yards.
KEY STAT: Tennessee finally got its ground game going, rushing for 68 yards on 12 carries, an average of 5.7 yards per try. Bama, meanwhile, ran eight times for a mere 24 yards, an average of 3.0 yards per rush.
RECAP: Bama shredded Tennessee's tiring run defense and drove to a third-and-goal on the Vol 1-yard line. Inexplicably, the Tide tried a pass at this point and Croyle had to throw the ball away. Bama then went for the touchdown on fourth-and-goal at the 1, but Parys Haralson belted Williams for a two-yard loss. Tennessee's offense couldn't advance, however, and Alabama got the ball back at its 45-yard line. On third-and-12 at his 43, Croyle found a wide-open Zach Fletcher at the Vol 20-yard line, and the Tide wideout advanced to the 5 before being tackled. Ray Hudson scored two plays later on a two-yard plunge for a 20-13 Bama lead with 4:47 left. Tennessee's offense stalled but the defense stopped Bama inches short on third-and-two. Tennessee then got the ball at its 13-yard line with 1:52 to play and no timeouts remaining. Clausen hits Banks for 16 yards to open the drive, hit Chris Hannon for 16 more and found Troy Fleming for 34. On third-and-five at the Bama 25, Clausen hit Mark Jones with a screen, and Jones rambled all the way to the Tide 1-yard line with 29 seconds left. Clausen froze the Bama defense with a fake to Jabari Davis, then lobbed a TD pass to wide-open Fleming for the tying TD with 0:25 remaining. Prothro returned the Vols' pooch kickoff was returned to the UT 47 and officials tacked on another 15 yards for a facemask violation on Wilhoit. Williams centered the ball between the hashmarks with a four-yard run to the Vol 28-yard line but Bostick missed a potential game-winning 45-yard field goal try with four seconds left.
KEY PLAY: (tie) The Croyle-to-Fletcher 52-yard bomb and the 24-yard screen play from Clausen to Jones. Croyle scrambled to avoid the Vol blitz, forcing UT's cornerback to abandon Fletcher and come up to stop the run. Croyle then threw over the corner for the biggest play of the game. Jones' catch
KEY PLAYER: Croyle. For a one-armed quarterback, his play all afternoon was downright remarkable.
KEY STAT: Tennessee's first three possessions of the fourth quarter resulted in three plays for minus-7 yards, three plays for 1 yard and three plays for 6 yards ... a total of nine plays for a net of zero yards. When the Vols needed a clutch drive, however, they covered 87 yards in nine plays to tie the score. UT finished regulation with 394 total yards, Bama with 396.
RECAP: Cedric Houston gained seven yards on UT's first play but injured his knee and went to the bench. Jabari Davis gained 10 yards and four yards, then lost two, leaving UT with third-and-goal at the Bama 6. Clausen then hit Tinsley with a TD pass for a 27-20 Vol lead. A 12-yard pass to Prothro helped Bama move to the Vol 6-yard line but a third-down pass fell incomplete, leaving the Tide in fourth-and-goal at the 6. Croyle then found Tre Fulgham on a perfectly thrown fade for the game-tying TD.
RECAP: Shaud Williams fumbled on Bama's first play when hit by Parys Haralson but the Tide recovered for a three-yard loss. On second-and-12, however, Triandos Luke got behind Corey Campbell, who was called for interference in the end zone, giving the Tide first-and-10 at the 12. Fullback Tim Castille scored on the next play, however, giving Bama a 34-27 lead. Clausen was sacked for a nine-yard loss by Nautyn McKay-Loescher on UT's first play. Two incomplete passes left UT facing fourth-and-19 at its 34. Clausen then coolly hit C.J. Fayton with a 28-yard pass to the Bama 6-yard line. Clausen then fired a pass that was tipped by Anthony Madison into the hands of James Banks for a TD that tied the score at 34-all.
RECAP: Clausen hit Banks with a 25-yard TD pass on UT's first play of the third extra period, giving UT a 40-34 lead. The Vols' mandatory two-point try fell incomplete, however. Bama lost three yards on a swing pass to Williams and gained nothing on a draw. Croyle then hit Hudson with a swing pass. Two missed tackles later, Bama had a first down at the Vol 13-yard line. Wiliiams then scored on a sweep of left end to tie the score at 40. Bama's two-point pass was intercepted by Jabari Greer, forcing a fourth OT.
RECAP: Two runs by Hudson gave Bama a first down at the Vol 13-yard line. Williams lost two yards on the next play but a facemask penalty on Kevin Simon moved the ball to the Vol 7. Hudson was stopped for a five-yard loss by Robert Peace. On second-and-goal at the 12, Peace stopped Williams for no gain. On third-and-goal from the 12, Croyle overthrew Fletcher in the back of the end zone. Bostick's 29-yard field goal gave the Tide a 43-40 lead. After Jabari Davis lost two yards on UT's first play, Clausen scrambled for nine yards and got an extra nine on a late hit out of bounds against Bama's Antwan Odom. A one-yard run by Davis on first down, a throwaway on second down left UT facing third-and-goal at the 9-yard line and an incompletion left Tennessee facing fourth-and-goal at the 9. Wilhoit nailed a 26-yard field goal to tie the score at 43.
RECAP: Corey Larkins raced 15 and 6 yards on UT's first two plays, then the Vols stalled. On third-and-two just outside the 2-yard line, Clausen scrambled around right end. He was stopped inches from the goalline but got the first down. Clausen then sneaked for the TD. Clausen then lobbed to Banks for the two-point conversion and a 51-43 lead. Prothro gained nine on an end-around on first down but Williams was stopped for no gain on second-and-one and thrown for a one-yard loss by J.T. Mapu on third-and-one. On fourth-and-two, native Alabamian Jason Allen deflected a fade pass intended for Tre Fulgham, sealing the 51-43 victory.