NCAA Football Pre-Review: Tennessee Vs. #1 Alabama

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NCAA Football Pre-Review: Tennessee Vs. #1 Alabama
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Tell me again, Harry. What, exactly, is a pre-review?

 

For a better understanding of what a pre-review is, refer to the introduction of my inaugural pre-review:

 

 http://bleacherreport.com/articles/265431-ncaa-football-pre-review-17-miami-hurricanes-vs-8-oklahoma-sooners

 

 

The Crimson Tide hope to prove that they deserve the top billing given to them by the media.  Tennessee hopes to grind out a signature win for first-year coach Lane Kiffin.

 

 

TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS VS. ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE PRE-REVIEW

 

1st Quarter

 

The Volunteers receive the ball.  As they will try to do all game, UT starts the game with two runs up the middle.

 

After gaining eight yards with Montario Hardesty, Tennessee runs the ball again on third-and-two and gains a big first down.  The tone is set.

 

Some more conservative play calling yields a steady drive which results in an opening-drive field goal.

 

Alabama gains possession and hopes to answer with an impressive drive of their own.

 

Running back Mark Ingram finds some room early but cannot break a big run.  The drive stalls when quarterback Greg McElroy throws an incomplete pass to wide receiver Julio Jones

 

Both offenses are stuck in neutral.

 

End of 1st Quarter:  UT 3 – Bama 0

 

2nd Quarter

 

Alabama recognizes that they are in for game.  A steady dose of Ingram gives the Tide favorable field position.

 

On second and six from UT’s 39 yard line, McElroy finds Jones wide open in the middle of the field. Safety Eric Berry also finds Jones and separates him from the ball.

 

The Volunteers recover the ball and return inside Alabama territory.  After a first down, quarterback Jonathan Crompton sets up freshman Bryce Brown with a 21-yard screen pass to the four.

 

Tennessee is able to pound the ball up the middle as Hardesty scores a touchdown with 1:57 left in the half.

 

The Tide roll down the field when Jones catches a 31-yard pass down the sidelines.  UT’s D tightens and Alabama kicks a field goal.

 

End of Half: UT 10 – Ala 3

 

3rd Quarter

 

Alabama makes some halftime adjustments and finds holes in the Volunteer defense.  Short passes to the outside, followed by quick strike runs between the tackles allow the Tide a first-and-goal from the seven yard-line.

 

The Volunteer defense comes up with their biggest stand of the season, forcing Bama to kick a field goal with 9:31 left in the quarter.

 

Bama’s defense answers with their biggest stand of the game, forcing the Volunteers to punt after a three-and-out.

 

Another steady drive stalls and Nick Saban is forced to make a big decision.  On fourth-and-goal from the three-yard line, Alabama goes for it and scores on a McElroy to Colin Peek touchdown in the back of the end zone.

 

End of 3rd Quarter:  Ala 13 – UT 10

 

4th Quarter

 

Tennessee’s offense is put to the test.  They respond with an important 13-play, 80-yard drive resulting in a game-tying field goal.

 

UT was able to chew up 6:16 off the clock with screens, draws, play-action passes and a reverse that gained 29 yards by Hardesty.

 

Bama’s offense hopes to respond and take some of the pressure off of their D.  Ingram is able to gain chunks of yardage, but inexplicably leaves the ball exposed as the Volunteer D is able to force a fumble.

 

Resorting to their game plan of misdirection and well timed quick passes, UT is able to drive down the field and kick a FG with 2:04 left in the game.

 

The Crimson Tide offense, unable to control the tempo of the game all afternoon, is forced to start the drive from their own nine-yard line. 

 

After a couple first downs to Jones and Peek, McElroy throws his second interception of the game and UT downs the ball.

 

Final UT 16 – Bama 13

 

Notable stats:

 

Jonathan Crompton:  16-26, 196 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT

Montario Hardesty: 23 rushes, 86 yards, 1 TD

Bryce Brown: 14 rushes, 55 yards

             5 receptions, 44 yards

 

Greg McElroy: 14-29, 205 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT

Mark Ingram: 21 rushes, 66 yards

 

Summary

 

Coach Kiffin implements an offensive strategy similar to the one uses against Florida and Coach Kiffin is able to put the clamps down on the Bama offense.  Mrs. Kiffin is proud of her husband and son, and the Volunteers are able to sing Rocky Top all night long.

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