KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Alvin Kamara stepped in and stepped up as Tennessee’s starting running back at Texas A&M.

Kamara filled in for the injured Jalen Hurd, and the second-year former Alabama running back played as well as imaginable. Kamara set a Tennessee record with 312 all-purpose yards on 30 touches.

“I just kind of go with the flow of the game,” Kamara said following the Texas A&M game. “Good things come when you do what you’re supposed to do. Whatever I can do to help the team win is what I do.”

Saturday Kamara will be playing against his former school for the second time. He was Tennessee’s leading receiver in last year’s game, catching 4 passes for 44 yards.

If he’s more excited about facing the Tide than any other team, he’s not showing it.

“I do still have friends at Alabama,” he said. “We talk and just pray for each others’ safety every game and keep up with each other. It’s another game. I was at Alabama a couple years ago, but I’m at Tennessee now and loving my teammates and loving where I’m at now. That’s all I’m focused on.”

Oct 24, 2015; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Tennessee Volunteers running back Alvin Kamara (6) carries the ball against Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Ronnie Harrison (15) during the first quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Kamara might not have much to say about playing his former school in a spectacle-type way, but he realizes the test that lies ahead in going against Alabama’s defense.

It’s a retooled Tide defense, but arguably more dangerous than the unit that won the national championship a season ago.

Alabama is allowing just 70 rushing yards per game. Only Ole Miss reached 100 yards (101 yards on 33 carries). It has allowed just two rushing touchdowns. It has recovered seven fumbles and intercepted six passes.

The numbers are intimidating, but this might be the most startling: Alabama’s defense has scored seven touchdowns and given up just 10 this season.

Once again, Saban has his talented players in position to play winning football and it starts with stopping the run. That will be Tennessee’s challenge to overcome for victory over the Crimson Tide who has won nine consecutive games in the series.

“They’re opportunistic,” Kamara said. “They’re opportunistic and they’re looking to make a play on every play. They’ll be trying to put a hand on (Josh) Dobbs, trying to put a hand on the ball carrier every chance they get.

“Being able to understand and recognize that is going to be big for us this week. Like I said, they are a sound defense and they play great team ball together. We’re going to get in the film room and get some good preparation going this week.”

For Tennessee to have a chance against the Alabama defense, the offense will have to keep up.

As scary as Alabama’s defense is, the Tide are averaging 44.8 points per game. If they can play 14 games, they’re on pace to break the SEC record for most points in a season.

The Vols know they’ll have to keep up. Tennessee produced 684 total yards against Texas A&M, marking the third-most in program history. Tennessee has also produced 1,539 total offensive yards through three games of SEC play.

The Vols are averaging 33.8 points per game, slightly more in their past three games against SEC teams.

The story has been told many times in how an elusive quarterback is the model that gives Saban’s defense fits, but Tennessee’s offensive style can be that and more Saturday.

A mixture of Dobbs’ ability to be a play-maker on the ground and Kamara’s shiftiness that has been utilized in the last two games, could be the perfect combination in attacking the Alabama defense.

Now the Vols’ offense will need to prove it on the field Saturday inside Neyland Stadium.