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Alabama 35, Tennessee 13

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - With Tua Tagovailoa hurt, No. 1 Alabama turned to the defense and Najee Harris to pull out a 35-13 victory over Tennessee.

The Crimson Tide (7-0, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) faced its first test of the season without last season's Heisman Trophy runner-up against the five-touchdown underdogs. Both starting quarterbacks left the game before halftime, and the Volunteers (2-5, 1-3) put up a fight much of the way.

Tagovailoa, the leader of a normally high-powered offense, left with an ankle injury in the second quarter and didn't return to the field. Tennessee freshman Brian Maurer had also exited with an unspecified injury, replaced by former starter Jarrett Guarantano.

The end result was familiar: Alabama's 13th consecutive win over the rival Vols.

Trevon Diggs recovered Guarantano's fumble on fourth-and-goal from the 1 and raced 100 yards for a touchdown to end the threat. Tennessee could have cut the deficit to a touchdown, down 28-13.

Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt had some angry words for Guarantano as the quarterback walked toward the sideline, pointing his finger toward him and briefly grabbing at his facemask.

Harris was already delivering before Tagovailoa's injury. He wound up running for 105 yards and two touchdowns and adding 48 yards on four catches. It was the second straight 100-yard game for a playmaker often overshadowed by Tagovailoa and the passing game.

Alabama got a cushion when reserve wide receiver Slade Bolden threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Miller Forristall in the end zone with 4:55 in the third. Bolden did a celebratory dance toward the sideline, where he was swarmed by teammates.

It was a needed pick-me-up with the Vols riding momentum and having cut it to 21-13 with a field goal. The defense then made a stop with Terrell Lewis sacking Guarantano on third down.

Tagovailoa finished 11-of-12 passing for 155 yards but also threw an interception on first-and-goal from the 2 when he scrambled around and forced the ball. Backup Mac Jones passed for 72 yards.

Associated Press


October 19, 2019

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