Rapid Reaction: Win the battle but lose the war? Alabama beats Tennessee but Tua Tagovailoa lost to injury
Alabama has increased its winning streak against annual rival Tennessee to 13 by beating the Volunteers 35-13 to Saturday night in Tuscaloosa.
That’s the good news. The bad news? Starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was injured in the game and did not return. The injury, which appeared to be an ankle injury, was bad enough that Tagovailoa had to be taken to a local hospital.
While Alabama’s starting quarterback did return to the stadium before the end of the game, losing him for a long period of time would likely end the Crimson Tide’s hopes to win it all in the weeks and months to come.
Tagaovailoa wasn’t the only starting quarterback to leave the game and not return as Tennessee’s freshman Brian Maurer suffered a shot to the head and did not return to the game.
Tagovailoa was 11 of 12 for 155 yards and an interception before leaving the game. Maurer was five of seven for 62 yards and an interception.
With Tua out, Alabama turned to Mac Jones while Tennessee once again turned to Jarrett Guarantano to replace Maurer. As has been an issue all season, Guarantano struggled in the red zone.
The Tennessee quarterback missed a wide open touchdown on the goal line and on a later possession fumbled in an attempt to sneak into the end zone that resulted in a 100-yard scoop and score touchdown for Alabama.
Outside of the injuries to both starting quarterbacks, penalties were another key to this game. Tennessee was called for 12 penalties for 88 yards while Alabama was flagged 8 times for 93 yards. Jeremy Pruitt even called out the refs as he went into the locker room for halftime and the flags continued to be an issue in the second half, too.
Najee Harris continues to gain steam for Alabama’s offense as the big back hit the century mark once again, rushing for 105 yards on 21 attempts. Harris also had two touchdowns.
Without Tagovailoa in the lineup, Alabama’s elite receiving corps failed to get much momentum going as Henry Ruggs had four catches for 72 yards, Jerry Jeudy had three catches for 41 and DeVonta Smith had just one catch for 18 yards — Smith sat the first half of the game after being ejected from Alabama’s previous game for throwing a punch.
While Alabama won the game, Tennessee matched the Tide’s physicality and overall toughness for much of the game. The Vols racked up 139 rushing yards (adjusted with yardage lost from sacks taken out) and had several opportunities to score touchdowns that were missed.
Following this win, Alabama improves to 7-0 on the season and Tennessee falls to 2-5 on the season. Next weekend, the Crimson Tide will face Arkansas in Tuscaloosa and the Volunteers are set to host South Carolina.