An injury-riddled game was still a rivalry win for the University of Alabama football team, 35-13 over Tennessee. These are the top five plays from the game.
1 — Trevon Diggs’ 100-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Tennessee was one yard away from bringing the game within one possession on fourth and goal. Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano’s sneak was poked out of his hands and into the end zone; Diggs picked up the ball and ran it uncontested back to the end zone. In the swing of 15 seconds, UA went from having its lead threatened to icing the game away.
2 — Greg Emerson’s sack of Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa completed a screen to Brian Robinson Jr. on the next play and Alabama had to take a timeout to save him from a delay of game penalty after that, but it was the last UA would see of Tagovailoa due to an ankle injury. Saban told ESPN in his postgame interview that Tagovailoa suffered a high ankle sprain and could miss, “a week or two.” Mac Jones took over for Tagovailoa from there, completing six of 11 passes for 72 yards.
3 — Henry Ruggs III’s 48-yard catch in the second quarter. When Alabama got the ball back with just under 12 minutes to go in the second quarter, Tagovailoa had yet to complete a pass longer than 20 yards. Ruggs and another UA receiver went vertical on the right side; miscommunication in the Tennessee secondary resulted with just one defensive back on the both of them. Tagovailoa chose Ruggs for a gain of 48 yards; Alabama scored four plays later to take a 21-10 lead.
4 — Nigel Warrior’s interception in Alabama’s end zone. Alabama was on the 2-yard line when Tagovailoa was forced to scramble backward. He scrambled backward over 10 yards and almost all the way to the sideline when he threw, presumably intended for a receiver heading to the back corner of the end zone. The underthrown pass was intercepted and returned for 59 yards. Tennessee tied the game with a touchdown six plays later.
5 — Jared Mayden’s interception on Tennessee’s second possession. After Tennessee’s first first down of the game, it dropped back to throw a slant to Jauan Jennings. Xavier McKinney made him pay for crossing the middle of the field, bringing a vicious hit and ultimately slamming him to the ground; the hit popped the ball into the air right to Mayden, who returned it for four yards. Alabama was in the red zone three plays later, but did not capitalize: Tagovailoa threw an interception of his own to give Tennessee the ball back.
Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson