No. 2 Alabama loses Waddle but defeats Tennessee
Despite losing star wide receiver Jaylen Waddle with a season-ending broken ankle on Saturday’s opening kickoff, No. 2 Alabama got three rushing touchdowns from Najee Harris and 387 passing yards from Mac Jones in a 48-17 Southeastern Conference blowout at reeling Tennessee.
Waddle, who entered the game with 25 catches for 557 yards, suffered the ankle injury after starting the game with a kick return to the Crimson Tide 15-yard line. Waddle was helped off the field and later taken by ambulance to a Knoxville hospital, where the diagnosis was made.
It didn’t keep Alabama (5-0, 5-0 SEC) from beating its once-fierce rival for the 14th straight time. The Crimson Tide offense rolled up 587 yards and 30 first downs, scoring on four straight possessions in the first half and rattling off five touchdown drives of 70 yards or more.
Harris opened the scoring at the 7:40 mark of the first quarter with a 1-yard plunge, followed by a 1-yard sneak from Jones nearly five minutes later.
Tennessee (2-3, 2-3) got on the board on Brent Cimaglia’s 33-yard field goal with 12:11 left in the first half, but the Tide answered back with another methodical touchdown drive. Brian Robinson capped the 75-yard march with a 7-yard run.
Jarrett Guarantano pulled the Volunteers within 21-10 on a 38-yard scoring strike to Jalin Hyatt, but Alabama peeled off another 75-yard drive that Harris finished with a 2-yard run 4:04 before intermission. That earned a 28-10 halftime lead.
Any hopes the Volunteers had of a miracle second-half rally lasted 33 seconds. That’s how long it took the Tide’s defense to score, thanks to Malachi Moore’s 28-yard fumble return that made it 35-10. Harris’ 1-yard run increased the advantage to 42-10.
Guarantano, who hit on 13 of 24 passes for 162 yards and two scores, connected with Josh Palmer for a 27-yard touchdown late in the third quarter.
Kicker Will Reichard tacked on 39 and 24-yard field goals in the fourth quarter for Alabama.
Tennessee, which was ranked 14th after winning its first two games, has lost three straight.
–Field Level Media