Alabama at Tennessee
Saturday, 12:30 pm PT - CBS
CRIS Opener: Alabama -10.5 O/U 60
CRIS Current: Alabama -13 O/U 57
The Tennessee defense is in a world of hurt right now, terrible news as they take on the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday. The Vols stop unit has, quite simply, been gutted with key injuries. They’ve lost Cameron Sutton, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Cortez McDowell from their secondary; Quar’te Sapp and Darrin Kirkland from their linebacking corps and Danny O’Brien from the defensive line. Sutton, Sapp and O’Brien have all been lost to season ending injuries, losing top playmakers from all three defensive units.
Of that group, only McDowell has a chance to play this week, and even that’s very ‘iffy’. No surprise, then, that the Vols surrendered ten plays of 20 yards or more in their double overtime loss at Texas A&M last Saturday. And, after that wild A&M on the heels of the wild Georgia game and the wild Florida game; a Vols defense that hasn’t had a bye yet certainly could use one, a gassed unit right now!
And that’s VERY bad news against the Alabama offense. The Crimson Tide aren’t stodgy this year – they’ve been slinging the ball around, with the deepest receiving corps of the Nick Saban era; a corps so deep that they’ve struggled to get everybody involved in the passing game.
Saban’s quote: "This is a good problem to have. Last year we really kind of didn't have the depth at receiver. It was really concerning in terms of if we lost another player it would have really affected our team. So we would like to have six receivers at least that we feel can go out there and play winning football for us."
Alabama hasn’t had a mobile QB in the past, but this year, Jalen Hurts has been their third leading rusher. Against Arkansas last week, ‘Bama averaged ten yards per snap. Three different running backs and four different pass catchers had single play big gainers of 20 yards or more. This just might be the best Alabama offense of the Nick Saban era, a scary thought for Tennessee’s banged up defense.
But Tennessee has performed admirably facing adversity all season; an offense with tremendous grit. That offense has produced 90 points in the second half against the Gators, Bulldogs and Aggies over the past three weeks, with Josh Dobbs throwing for 1400 yards and 14 TD’s already. In two previous SEC road games, ‘Bama allowed 73 points and more than 800 passing yards at Arkansas and Ole Miss. Expect offensive fireworks!