SEC rivalry breakdown: Looking back at a decade of Vols-Tide
BEST PLAY: TERRENCE CODY’S BLOCKED FGs
The Tide won the national championship in 2009, its first since the Gene Stallings-coached team of 1992. But not before a harrowing escape against a Lane Kiffin-coached Vols.
Alabama won 12-10 thanks to two blocked kicks by Terrence “Mount” Cody, including one on a 44-yard attempt with four seconds left that would’ve cost the Tide the game and maybe the season. It set off a raucous celebration in Tuscaloosa.
BEST GAME: 2009
Jonathan Crompton had a solid game against the Alabama defense, easily outplaying Greg McElroy. Crompton hit Luke Stocker for a 23-yard gain to set up the game-winning field goal attempt.
Tennessee entered the fourth quarter trailing 9-3. Crompton led one drive that ended in a blocked 43-yard field goal, watched Alabama manage a field goal of its own to go up 12-3, answered with a touchdown drive after a super-rare Mark Ingram fumble, watched his team recover the onside kick and then Cody ruined his afternoon.
This was an all-time classic in a series otherwise devoid of them in recent years.
BIGGEST TURNING POINT: 2007
Kareem Jackson picked off two Erik Ainge passes, D.J. Hall caught 13 for 185 and the Tide defense overcame a huge day for Arian Foster to knock off Tennessee, 41-17.
The win punctuated a 6-2 start to Nick Saban’s tenure at Alabama and ended a stretch in which Tennessee won 10 of 12 in the series. It also started what’s currently an eight-game win streak for the Tide in the series.
LONGEST STREAK: EIGHT
This series has featured unbeaten streaks of 11 (Alabama, 1971-81), nine (Alabama, 1986-94, including one tie), seven (1995-2001) and eight (2007-current).
The 2014 game, though — 34-20 in Knoxville — represents the second-closest the Vols have come to ending the current streak. The Vols discovered quarterback Josh Dobbs in the second half as well, and played the Tide evenly (or better) after halftime. What will 2015 bring?
BEST PLAYER: JULIO JONES
His six catches for 103 yards against the Vols as a true freshman in 2008 were sweet. His seven catches for 54 yards in the close shave in ’09 were enough. But his 12 catches for 221 yards in 2010 were record-breaking. (Amari Cooper since broke that school record twice.)
Jones was a man among boys by 2010, and unleashed his college masterpiece against the Vols.
SWEETEST REVENGE: 2005
Tennessee had won nine of 10 when the No. 17 Vols visited Tuscaloosa in 2005. But D.J. Hall’s 10 catches for 139 yards were enough to break a 0-0 halftime tie as No. 5 Alabama stayed unbeaten by squeezing out two field goals to win, 6-3.
BEST TOUCHDOWN DRIVE: 2006
No. 7 Tennessee trailed Alabama, 13-6, in Knoxville in the fourth quarter. Ainge completed four consecutive passes, but the Vols stalled inside the 10-yard line, leading to a field goal.
UT got possession trailing by four points with 6:40 left. In addition to a 27-yard completion to Robert Meachem, the Vols leaned on Foster, who caught passes for 7, 9 and 15 yards and punctuated the drive with a 1-yard touchdown dive.
“In the second half, the guts and toughness that this team showed to finish and get a win was just what we needed actually,” Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said. “I told them there’s not anybody on our schedule that we play where the game won’t be like this. We’ll get the best effort from everybody will play.”
“THIRD SATURDAY IN OCTOBER” RESULTS (LAST DECADE)
2005: Alabama 6, Tennessee 3
2006: Tennessee 17, Alabama 13
2007: Alabama 41, Tennessee 17
2008: Alabama 29, Tennessee 9
2009: Alabama 12, Tennessee 10
2010: Alabama 41, Tennessee 10
2011: Alabama 37, Tennessee 6
2012: Alabama 44, Tennessee 13
2013: Alabama 45, Tennessee 10
2014: Alabama 34, Tennessee 20