No. 1-ranked Alabama visited rival Tennessee on the Third Saturday in October. Here are four key questions that were answered:
1. Has Tennessee turned a corner?
Turns out the Volunteers’ upset of Auburn last weekend was more of a blip on the radar than a season-changing event. Alabama took command from the start and led by four touchdowns by the end of the opening period. Jeremy Pruitt has a long way to go to make UT competitive with Alabama, but Tennessee showed some fight.
2. What will Alabama’s quarterback rotation look like?
Tua Tagovailoa went through a week of speculation about a possibly gimpy knee. UA coach Nick Saban said it wasn’t a worry and UA’s starter didn’t miss any practice time. He started and played into the third quarter without any apparent issues, throwing for 306 yards and four touchdowns. Jalen Hurts took over with 6:07 to go in the third period.
3. Is Alabama’s defense starting to come together?
The Crimson Tide beat up Missouri quarterback Drew Lock the previous weekend and did the same to Tennessee starter Jarrett Guarantano. The Vols got a spark, however, when Stanford transfer Keller Chryst came off the bench in the second quarter to replace Guarantano and pass for 164 yards and two touchdowns.
4. Will another Alabama senior class graduate without losing to Tennessee?
Alabama has won every year since 2007. That means every fourth-year player at UA since 2010 has been able to smoke a cigar in the locker room every season of his career. That, naturally, hasn’t changed after Saturday’s trip to Knoxville. The tradition continues.