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As an Alabama fan, it’s fun to beat Tennessee. And since Nick Saban arrived, wins over UT are not at a premium.
Saban is 14-0 against the Vols since his arrival, having yet to lose to them since he arrived at the Capstone.
When reminiscing on all of the Crimson Tide’s victories over Tennessee since the current streak began in 2007, there are five games that I’d say qualify as my favorites, albeit for different reasons.
5. Oct. 20, 2007
Tennessee defensive back Jarod Parrish (19) puts pressure on Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson on Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Wilson passed for a career-high 363 yards and three touchdowns as the Tide rolled over the Vols 41-17, dropping Tennessee’s season record to 4-3.
Nick Saban’s debut season at Alabama in 2007 certainly wasn’t a premonition of things to come in the future. The Crimson Tide went 7-6, including a very ugly loss to Louisiana-Monroe, but they wouldn’t have a season anything like it since.
On Oct. 20, 2007, the Crimson Tide played the Vols at home for Saban’s first taste of the Third Saturday in October rivalry. John Parker Wilson would lead the Crimson Tide offensively.
After the Vols scored to take a 14-10 lead in the second quarter, Alabama would show no mercy, eventually winning the game 41-17.
You could say that this game laid the groundwork for the current streak. It sent a message to Tennessee fans, as well, essentially foreshadowing the new norm.
Former Vols head coach and AD Philip Fulmer would learn that no matter what capacity at Tennessee he was in, he would not figure out a way to beat Saban.
4. Oct. 24, 2020
Tennessee defensive back Bryce Thompson (0) and Tennessee defensive back Trevon Flowers (1) tackle Alabama wide receiver John Metchie III (8) during a game between Alabama and Tennessee at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020.
This one is on the list simply to show that the Vols have yet to find an answer. This game would be the last iteration of the Third Saturday for then-Tennessee head coach and former Tide offensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, as he was fired for cause.
The Crimson Tide would win this game 48-17, getting the jump early by going up 28-10 at the half. Alabama running back Najee Harris rushed for three TDs in this game.
While Mac Jones didn’t put a ball into the endzone, he still threw for 387 yards, clearly making an impact in field-position for the Tide.
3. Oct. 20, 2012
Oct 20, 2012; Knoxville, TN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide running back T.J. Yeldon (4) runs for a touchdown against the Tennessee Volunteers during the second half at Neyland Stadium. Alabama won by a score of 44 to 13. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
A.J. McCarron, Amari Cooper and Co. would go into Knoxville and put on an absolute clinic.
McCarron completed just 17 passes, but they went for 306 yards and four touchdowns, two of which were caught by Cooper.
Cooper ended up with 162 yards receiving to complement his two receiving touchdowns.
The Crimson Tide defense, one of the best under the Nick Saban era, smothered the Vols. CJ Mosley and Robert Lester picked off Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray twice.
The Alabama defense would allow just 282 total yards of offense in a huge 44-13 win.
This Crimson Tide victory would be the last for then-UT head coach Derek Dooley, as he would be fired just three weeks later, after an embarrassing loss to Vanderbilt.
2. Oct. 21, 2017
Oct 21, 2017; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) walks off the field following the Tides 45-7 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama outgained Tennessee 604-108 in this iteration of the Third Saturday in October in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama’s defense collectively earned the MVP of this game. Allowing just seven points and 108 total yards is a huge accomplishment in the SEC, even against an embattled program like the Vols at the time.
The game was won 45-7, and just two weeks later Tennessee would announce their decision to fire head coach Butch Jones after four years at the helm. At the time of his firing, the Vols were 4-6, winless in the SEC, and on the cusp of missing their first bowl game since 2013.
They did not make a bowl game, nor did they win either of their two remaining games after firing Jones. Tennessee finished their season 4-8, without a single win against SEC competition.
1. Oct. 24, 2009
FILE – This is an Oct. 24, 2009, file photo showing Alabama defensive lineman Terrence Cody (62), top left, blocking a field goal by Tennessee kicker Daniel Lincoln (26) that clinched the 12-10 Alabama victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. in last years game. Alabama plays Tennessee this Saturday in Knoxville. (AP Photo/Birmingham News, Mark Almond)
This one is a personal favorite of mine for a few different reasons. I was in attendance for this game, and to this day it is still one of the loudest uproars I have ever heard inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.
This game also featured an offensive stalemate. Leigh Tiffin would score all 12 of Alabama’s points off four field goals ranging from 22 yards to 50 yards.
In fact, Tennessee scored the game’s only touchdown on an 11-yard pass from Jonathan Crompton to Gerald Jones.
Over the course of the game, two key special teams plays would shape the outcome, and consequently, the season for the Crimson Tide.
Terrence Cody, then-Crimson Tide defensive tackle, managed to break through Tennessee’s trenches on two separate occasions during field goals. This resulted in two blocked kicks for the big man. One of these key blocks would come in the closing seconds of the game. Tennessee lined up for a 44-yard field goal that would win them the game.
Cody had other plans. He won the game for Alabama by pure brute force.
Alabama would eventually go on to win their first national championship since 1992, and their first in an era that would prove dominant for the Crimson Tide.
Then-Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin brought the Vols as close as they would come to beating Alabama over the next 12 years. He left in the middle of the night for a head coaching job at USC following Pete Carrol’s departure for the NFL.
Oh, the joy.
You can watch Alabama square off against Tennessee at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN.