TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nick Saban asked for 60 minutes of energy in Bryant-Denny Stadium, and he got it on Saturday against Tennessee.
Midway through the fourth quarter of Alabama’s 45-7 victory, Tennessee’s offense threatened to score. The Volunteers were set up with great field position following a fumble by Xavian Marks on a punt return.
The Vols started at the 20-yard line and made it all the way to the 1. That’s when things fell apart. Alabama’s crowd roared with Tennessee’s offense at the 1-yard line, leading to a false start penalty by the Vols.
Two plays later, the drive was over. On fourth-and-goal from the 5, pressure quickly got to Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, forcing him to loft a pass that was intercepted by Alabama linebacker Mack Wilson.
Wilson is tied with cornerback Levi Wallace for the team lead with 3 interceptions.
“It was great. I think the fans really had a lot to do with it,” Saban said. “Obviously, they contributed to the [false start] penalty when they had the ball inside the 1. They gave us a chance and made it third-and-5 at the 5. When you have to pass the ball down there, it gets a little restricted.
“On the fourth-down play, we did a great job of matching the patterns and got some pressure on the quarterback. It was exciting to see our players wanting to not let them score. The fans were into it and it was great. I think that probably speaks a lot toward what this game means and what this rivalry is because there was a lot of pride in the stands and on the field.”