Alabama Waddle vs. A&M

Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) scores a touchdown against Texas A&M at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas. [MICKEY WELSH/MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER]

When: 7 p.m., Saturday

Where: Tuscaloosa, Ala.


The series: Alabama leads 55-38-7

The line: Alabama by 34 1/2


Four-down territory

1. Records keep falling: Tua Tagovailoa added to his career records last week against Texas A&M, as his four touchdown passes gave him 81 for his career to move him past AJ McCarron. It was also the 11th time he passed for at least four touchdowns in a game, pushing him past McCarron in that category as well. Last year as a sophomore Tagovailoa accounted for 43 passing scores and five rushing to set a school record for a single season, but he is threatening that mark this year, as he has thrown for 27 and run for two thus far.

2. Protecting sacred ground: Since the start of the 2009 season, no team has given up less touchdowns than Alabama. The Crimson Tide has allowed 229 touchdowns in that time frame, second to LSU’s 283. Rushing touchdowns have been especially hard for opponents to score, as the Tide has given up just 90 scores on the ground since coach Nick Saban took over in 2007. Iowa is a distant second in rushing touchdowns allowed since 2007, giving up 141. Since 2005, only 24 opponents have rushed for 100 yards, and only 19 have achieved the mark since Saban arrived.

3. Missing in action: Tagovailoa will be missing one of his favorite targets during the first half of the Tennessee game, as wide receiver DeVonta Smith will serve a suspension. Smith got into a scuffle near the end of the Texas A&M game and threw a punch, which caused him to be ejected from the game. Saban decided to bench Smith as a lesson to him and the rest of the team that they need to keep their cool, even when provoked.

4. Vols feeling better: One game does not straighten out a season, but Tennessee got a boost with last week’s win over Mississippi State. Brian Maurer started the last two games for the Vols at quarterback, but left last week’s game in the first half with a concussion. The question remains as to whether he or Jarrett Guarantano will start for the Vols under center. Either way, look for the Alabama defense to give Tennessee’s quarterback a hard time.


By the numbers

4: For the first time ever, Alabama has four receivers on the roster at the same time with over 1,000 receiving yards for their career. Jeudy leads the group with 2,117 yards, fifth all-time at Alabama, followed by Smith with 1,489. Henry Ruggs III has 1,364 yards and Jaylen Waddle added 1,093 yards. In addition, Ruggs III and Jeudy are tied for second on the career touchdown reception list with 22.

3: Smith also has caught nine touchdown passes, which ties him for third in the country in that category. His team-leading 636 yards receiving is third-best in the SEC and 10th nationally.

1.07: Since 2009, Alabama has turned the ball over 157 times in 146 games, an average of 1.07 turnovers per game. That total includes 61 interceptions in 3,720 passes (1 interception every 60.1 attempts) and 24 fumbles in 3,797 carries (1 lost fumble every 158 carries).

70: Alabama has recorded 70 non-offensive touchdowns in the Saban era, including a pair of blocked punts for touchdowns this year. Last week Tyrell Shavers scored his first career touchdown off a blocked punt by Ale Kaho.

120: Saban is third all-time in wins in SEC games, including conference championship games, with 120. He trails Paul “Bear” Bryant and Steve Spurrier. Saban is first in regular season winning percentage (.822) and second in the league in all-time games (.840).


Key matchup

Terrell Lewis and Anfernee Jennings vs. Tennessee QBs

Alabama has been picking upi steam in its pass rush, and Lewis and Jennings are a big reason why. Tennessee has had trouble scoring, and whomever is in at QB for the Vols is likely in for a long week.


Player of the week

Najee Harris, running back

Harris has had some big games this year, despite the emphasis on the passing game. Against Southern Miss he became the first player this year to go over 100 yards rushing when he gained 110 yards. The week before, in the SEC opener against South Carolina, he became the running back to gain the most yards receiving (87) since Shaun Alexander had 110 yards in 1998. Look for Harris to have a big game against the Tennessee defense.



Alabama 52, Tennessee 10

Alabama has three home SEC games in a row, but it will be easy for the Tide to look past Tennessee and Arkansas to the upcoming matchup with LSU. However, don’t expect the Tide to overlook the game in front of them. Tennessee shouldn’t provide much of a challenge, but that just means more Alabama players will get some game experience. Alabama should handle this one easily.

— Dennis Tymkiw
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