Chase McGrath’s 40-yard field goal as time expired lifted No. 6 Tennessee to an epic 52-49 victory over No. 3 Alabama on Saturday night in Knoxville, Tenn.
Tennessee (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) snapped a 15-game losing streak against the Crimson Tide (6-1, 3-1) and beat Alabama for the first time since Nick Saban became the Tide’s coach in 2007.
Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker set up the game-winning score by driving the Volunteers 45 yards in only 13 seconds on two long completions to Ramel Keyton and Bru McCoy to give them the ball at the Alabama 23.
Hooker completed 21 of 30 passes for 385 yards and threw five touchdown passes. He connected on all five of his touchdown passes with receiver Jalin Hyatt, who finished with six catches for 207 yards.
Hyatt’s 13-yard touchdown catch with 3:26 left knotted the score at 49.
Will Reichard had a chance to put Alabama ahead with 15 seconds left but missed a 50-yard attempt wide right. It was Reichard’s fourth miss in his past seven attempts.
The game featured the return of Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young after he missed the Crimson Tide’s previous game with a right shoulder injury. Young completed 35 of 52 passes for 455 yards and threw two touchdown passes and no interceptions.
Young helped Alabama erase a 28-10 deficit in the second quarter — its largest in three seasons — before the team’s traded scores down the stretch. Jahmyr Gibbs’ 26-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion pass from Young to Ja’Corey Brooks tied the game at 28.
Gibbs ran for 103 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries.
Young’s 1-yard TD pass to Cameron Latu tied the game at 42 with 8:38 left.
Alabama’s defense provided the go-ahead points on the ensuing series when Hooker was sacked and fumbled. Dallas Turner picked it up and returned it 11 yards to give Alabama a 49-42 lead with 7:49 left.
But Tennessee’s up-tempo offense, which amassed 567 total yards, struck again late and set up McGrath’s game-winner in the final minute.
–Field Level Media
Jahmyr Gibbs ran for 206 yards, most of which came on two long touchdown runs, to help the Alabama Crimson Tide to a 49-26 victory over the host Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday night in Fayetteville, Ark.
The ground game helped Alabama survive the shoulder injury to star quarterback Bryce Young, who did not return after leaving in the second quarter.
No. 2 Alabama (5-0, 2-0 SEC) hung on for its 15th consecutive win over the Razorbacks (3-2, 1-2).
Gibbs’ touchdown runs of 72 and 76 yards in the fourth quarter helped the Crimson Tide pull away after No. 20 Arkansas had cut their advantage to 28-23 with 19 seconds remaining in the third.
Freshman Jalen Milroe took over for Young and made the momentum-swinging play on Alabama’s second offensive snap of the fourth quarter. On third and 15 from their own 20, Milroe scrambled and broke loose downfield for a 77-yard run to the Arkansas 3. Two plays later, Jase McClellan scored to put Alabama ahead 35-23.
Milroe completed 4 of 9 passes for 65 yards and threw one touchdown pass and no interceptions.
Young, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, hurt himself with 10:47 left in the second quarter when he landed awkwardly on his right side while running toward the far sideline. Young remained in the game and threw a pass on the next play, but then pointed to his right shoulder as team trainers met him on the Alabama sideline.
Young completed 7 of 13 passes for 173 yards, one touchdown and one interception, and also ran for an 8-yard score.
Raheim Sanders led the Razorbacks with 101 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries while KJ Jefferson completed 13 of 24 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown.
After Alabama’s advantage was cut to 28-14, Arkansas kicker Jake Bates kicked and recovered an onside kick leading to a field goal.
On the next drive, another key special teams play went Arkansas’ way. A long snap on an Alabama punt hit Henry To’o To’o and rolled away from punter James Burnip who covered it up at the Tide 3-yard line. Jefferson scored on the next play to cut Alabama’s lead to 28-23, but was stuffed on the ensuing two-point conversion.
–Field Level Media
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young left Saturday’s game with a first-half shoulder injury after he was tackled out of bounds.
Young, who won the Heisman Trophy last season, jammed his shoulder into the turf and later jogged to the locker room. Per a report by CBS, Young was questionable to return, but he did have a helmet in hand as Alabama opened the third quarter.
Alabama turned to backup quarterback Jalen Millroe, who returned in the Crimson Tide’s opening series of the third quarter. Millroe had a 22-yard touchdown pass to JoJo Earle and a 3-yard touchdown run.
Young, who exited with 10:54 remaining in the second quarter, was 7-for-13 for 173 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Including his first-half work Saturday, Young has thrown for 1,202 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions.
–Field Level Media
Alabama will try to continue its dominance of Southeastern Conference rival Arkansas on Saturday when it travels to Fayetteville, Ark., in one of four matchups this week between teams in the top 20.
The No. 2 Crimson Tide (4-0, 1-0 SEC) have won 15 consecutive games against the 20th-ranked Razorbacks (3-1, 1-1) and have not lost a matchup in the series since 2006, the year before Nick Saban arrived at Alabama.
This will be the Tide’s second road game of the season and first against a conference opponent. In its only road game so far, Alabama narrowly escaped with a 20-19 nonconference victory at Texas on Sept. 10.
The Razorbacks last defeated Alabama in 2006 at home, and could use a major bounce back victory after blowing a 14-point lead in last week’s 23-21 loss to then-No. 23 Texas A&M.
Arkansas led 14-0 before the Aggies scored 23 unanswered points. The Razorbacks pulled to within two, but kicker Cam Little’s 42-yard go-ahead field goal with 1:30 remaining in the game bounced off the top of the right upright.
“You know, after the game and on the bus, I was going to the airport I went back and talked to each and every one of them,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said. “The great thing about it is that we’re not used to it. That was only (the second loss) in the last 10 games. But it hurt.”
The loss cost the Razorbacks a chance to start 4-0 in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1988-89, while preventing them from winning their first two SEC games since 2006. It also cost them 10 spots in the AP Top 25 rankings.
Each team begins a tough stretch in the schedule Saturday.
Alabama, which ranks fifth in the nation in scoring and sixth in total offense (48.3 points and 517.5 yards per game), has No. 17 Texas A&M and then No. 8 Tennessee on the schedule. Arkansas follows this week’s game with three consecutive road games at Mississippi State, No. 19 BYU and Auburn.
“This is a very dangerous team we’re playing in Arkansas,” Saban said. “They have a very, very good team. Coming off a tough loss. They make a lot of explosive plays.”
Both teams have run the ball well. The Razorbacks rank ninth nationally with 243.8 rushing yards per game just ahead of Alabama, which ranks 10th at 235 yards per game.
Arkansas’ Raheim Sanders leads the SEC with 508 yards on 83 carries and has three touchdowns while averaging 6.1 yards. Quarterback KJ Jefferson has 274 rushing yards and four touchdowns in addition to his 941 yards, eight touchdowns and only one interception passing on 67-of-97 attempts.
“(Quarterback) KJ Jefferson is a dual threat-wise, big, strong, really good passer,” Saban said. “They’ve got a lot of quarterback runs, which create another gap on defense. And to go with that, they have great play-action passes.”
Alabama counters at QB with reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, who has completed 83 of 121 passes for 1,029 yards, 13 touchdowns and two interceptions so far while rushing for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
“(I see) a lot of confidence … in everything he does, whether he’s throwing, whether he’s scrambling, staying in the pocket until the last second,” Pittman said. “When he gets outside the pocket, he just looks comfortable, like ‘I could run it for a touchdown, I can throw it for a touchdown. I’m just gonna do kind of whichever one I decide to do.’ ”
–Field Level Media