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Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts runs in for a touchdown against Tennessee.

2017 Alabama football opponent preview and prediction: Tennessee

Counting down to the start of Alabama football fall camp Thursday, SEC Country is previewing the Crimson Tide’s 2017 opponents.

Alabama vs. Tennessee

  • When: Saturday, Oct. 21
  • Kickoff time: TBA
  • Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
  • TV: TBA
  • Last meeting: Alabama defeated Tennessee 49-10 on Oct. 15, 2016

Tennessee at a glance

  • Coach: Butch Jones
  • 2016 record: 9-4, 4-4 SEC

Tennessee players to watch

Ethan Wolf | TE

Wolf enters his fourth year as a starter. He totaled 21 receptions for 239 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2016. His 20-yard touchdown catch against Florida brought the Vols within 21-17 at the end of the third quarter during the eventual come-from-behind victory. Later in 2016, Wolf matched a season-high with 4 receptions for a season-best 44 yards and a 10-yard score against Kentucky.

Wolf had 23 receptions for 301 yards and 2 scores in 2015 and tallied 23 grabs for 212 yards as a true freshman in 2014. For his career, the 6-foot-6, 258-pound Wolf has 67 receptions for 752 yards and 4 touchdowns, while making 34 starts and appearing in 37 games.

He ranks fifth in Tennessee history among tight ends with 752 receiving yards and is closing in on Jason Witten (797) and Luke Stocker (956).

Jashon Robertson | OL

Robinson has started 34 games during his Tennessee career and was a key part of a UT offensive line that paved the way to record-breaking offensive numbers in 2016. The Vols set program records in points scored (473) and touchdowns (63) and won their third consecutive bowl game by defeating Nebraska, 38-24, in the Music City Bowl.

Jauan Jennings | WR

Jennings is coming off a breakout 2016 sophomore campaign in which he set career highs with 40 receptions, 580 yards and 7 touchdowns. He made two of the biggest catches of the 2016 season. In the Vols’ 38-28 comeback win against Florida on Sept. 24, Jennings caught 3 passes for 111 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown down the right sideline that gave the Vols the lead in the fourth quarter.

He topped that the following week at Georgia on Oct. 1 when he jumped over several Bulldog defensive backs to catch Josh Dobbs’ 43-yard Hail Mary in the end zone and lift Tennessee to a 34-31 victory.

Our take

There are 10-year-olds who have never witnessed a Tennessee victory over Alabama football.

Alabama has owned this series since Nick Saban took over as head coach in Tuscaloosa.

Of Alabama’s 10 straight victories over Tennessee, only two have finished by a margin less than 14 points (2009, 2015).

Tennessee’s best shot of beating Alabama was last season. The Volunteers had stars on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Josh Dobbs and defensive lineman Derek Barnett. But the Vols could only muster 1 touchdown in a 49-10 beating at the hands of the Crimson Tide.

Dobbs, Barnett and others are gone, and the Vols are left with question marks at key positions.

All streaks come to an end, but look for Alabama to make it 11 in a row over Tennessee.

Prediction

Alabama 34, Tennessee 17

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