Alabama is the No. 1 scoring offense in the SEC, averaging 44.8 points per game. That’s tied for sixth nationally, too.

Jalen Hurts, a true freshman quarterback, is leading the charge offensively for the Crimson Tide. He’s in an ideal situation, of course, as coach Nick Saban has surrounded him with enviable skill-position talent and dominant blockers.

Taking over for Blake Barnett, who started the season opener against USC but wasn’t nearly as effective — and has since decided to transfer — Hurts completes 63.8 percent of his passes with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 9-to-2. He’s also rushed for 296 yards and leads ‘Bama with 5 TDs on the ground.

However, Hurts isn’t responsible for all of those points. The Tide have scored nine times this year on defense and special teams.

Four fumble returns. Three interception returns. Two punt returns. Alabama has tallied an additional 63 points in six games with no assistance whatsoever from Hurts and Co. That’s an extra 10.5 points per contest.

Da’Ron Payne, Jonathan Allen, Ronnie Harrison and Tim Williams all returned a fumble for a touchdown. Marlon Humphrey, Eddie Jackson and Minkah Fitzpatrick each picked off a pass that resulted in a TD. Jackson and Xavian Marks both housed a punt — that’s eight players scoring in non-offensive fashion.

For comparison’s sake, South Carolina’s offense has equaled Alabama’s defense and special teams with 9 touchdowns to this point.

That could be the difference Saturday in Knoxville, as Tennessee is coming off a loss to Texas A&M in which it committed 7 turnovers. Miraculously, the Volunteers still took the Aggies to double overtime before falling.

Oct 8, 2016; College Station, TX, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Joshua Dobbs (11) runs with the ball against the Texas A&M Aggies during the second half at Kyle Field. The Aggies defeat the Volunteers 45-38 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

UT’s turnover ratio is minus-3, which is 13th in the SEC. The Vols have lost 8 fumbles and also thrown 8 interceptions — all of those picks belong to Joshua Dobbs (above). No other QB in the conference has more than 5 INTs. Dobbs is also the lone signal caller in the league to be picked off in every game.

The Crimson Tide are plus-5 in the turnover department, tied for second best. Hurts has only fired 2 interceptions.

Tennessee fans have come to the defense of Dobbs because that’s what fans do. True: His protection has been shaky. True: His running game has disappointed. True: His receivers have dropped a lot of catchable balls.

Nevertheless, pretty much every passer in the country has an INT or two that wasn’t really his fault. Maybe his tight end ran the wrong route and wasn’t where he was supposed to be. Perhaps his wideout let a perfect spiral bounce off his shoulder pads and into enemy hands. But one way or another, picks are credited to whomever is under center.

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And make no mistake about it, Dobbs has battled accuracy issues and questionable decision-making throughout his career.

The final play vs. A&M is a perfect example. Needing a touchdown to stay alive on his second possession of OT, Dobbs unnecessarily pushed the ball downfield into coverage looking for tight end Ethan Wolf on 1st-and-10. Picked. Ballgame.

“We just had a weak flood concept, and I thought Ethan was breaking over the top,” Dobbs told reporters after the game. “They had a split-safety concept, and I thought he was winning on the route, which obviously didn’t happen. And the ball went over his head. And he made a good play on it.”

While the Aggies are talented at safety, they don’t match up with ‘Bama in the secondary. Chances are, the entire starting defensive backfield — Fitzpatrick and Humphrey at cornerback, Harrison and Jackson at safety — will be in the NFL one day. That quartet is responsible for more than half of the Tide’s defensive scores.

Fitzpatrick (below) starred in a Week 6 win over Arkansas with 3 interceptions, returning one of them 100 yards for a touchdown.

Oct 8, 2016; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick (29) returns an interception for 100 yard touchdown against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the fourth quarter at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Alabama won 49-30. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

If Alabama hadn’t been enjoying so much success finding the end zone unconventionally in 2016, it’s possible Fitzpatrick would have just taken a knee. Instead, he exploded out of the painted area and made a mad scramble for the sideline.

“The first thing I thought was, ‘Oh, no,'” Saban admitted Wednesday on the weekly SEC coaches teleconference. “When he got to the 10, I thought, ‘He could go.’”

Another hallmark for the Volunteers has been their ability to mount furious comebacks in the second half. In consecutive weeks, they trailed Florida 21-3, Georgia 17-7 and Texas A&M 21-7 after 30 minutes. They blew the doors off the Gators in the second half and outlasted the Bulldogs — thanks to a Hail Mary — on the last snap.

Even in defeat, UT scored two TDs in 1:26 against the Aggies to force overtime, the second with just 41 seconds left in regulation.

The Crimson Tide don’t take their foot off the accelerator, though. Once they take a lead, they take it for good. Ole Miss tied them 27-27 in the third quarter, but ‘Bama answered with a 21-3 run to put the Rebels away.

Arkansas, which averages more yards and points per game than the Vols, trailed the Tide 28-7 midway through the second quarter last Saturday. The Razorbacks never got any closer than 18 points the rest of the way. With the Hogs down 42-24 in the fourth, Fitzpatrick’s pick-six turned what could have been 42-31 into 49-24.

“We’re moving the ball throughout the game, but we’re shooting ourselves in the foot,” Dobbs said. “We can move it at will, but we just have to take care of the football.”

Tennessee better hope that its 7-turnover debacle at Kyle Field was an anomaly. Alabama isn’t nearly as forgiving.

John Crist is the senior writer for Saturday Down South, a member of the FWAA and a voter for the Heisman Trophy. Send him an e-mail, like him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.