KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee surely would have preferred its bye week come a week or two earlier this season.
Instead, a banged-up Vols team was dealt the No. 1-ranked team in the country, and Alabama looked every bit the part, scoring a 49-10 win Saturday at Neyland Stadium.
It was the most lopsided game in the rivalry series since Alabama scored a 51-0 win over Tennessee in 1906.
It also was the Vols’ most lopsided defeat since a 59-14 setback at Oregon in 2013.
Tennessee falls to 5-2 overall and 2-2 in the SEC with the loss.
Here’s the Vols’ team stock report:
Derek Barnett: Barnett’s play keeps getting better every week, as this Saturday he kept the game from turning into a blowout in the first half. Barnett had a fumble-inducing sack that led to UT’s only TD of the first half, and he picked off a pass late in the second quarter to prevent Alabama from another red-zone scoring opportunity.
Elliott Berry: Berry was pressed into action at linebacker when Darrin Kirkland Jr. was unable to return from the ankle injury he suffered on Sept. 10, and Cortez McDowell was still out after being hurt last week against Texas A&M. Berry responded with 9 tackles, including 2 for loss.
Run defense: The Vols entered the game ranked 86th in the nation vs. the rush, allowing 4.48 per attempt and 183 yards per game. Alabama had 438 yards rushing and 8.9 yards per attempt.
Josh Dobbs: Dobbs had to look human sooner or later, and with three starting offensive linemen out and the No. 1 run defense in the nation chasing him, Saturday was that day. Dobbs was 16-of-27 passing for 92 yards with an interception returned for a touchdown. He was also sacked 3 times and finished with minus-31 yards rushing on 7 carries.
Tennessee fans: They turned out in force, 102,455 making their presence known as long as the game stayed competitive. If social media is any indication, most UT fans recognize how much of a role injuries played in the lopsided defeat.
Return game: Alvin Kamara had 2 punt returns for 60 yards, Evan Berry had 3 kick returns for 91 yards and freshman Tyler Byrd had a kick return for 25 yards.