For 16 years Tennessee could never crack the code on defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide, always coming close yet losing in the most hilarious and excruciating ways (see: Terrence Cody’s blocked field goal).
For 132 consecutive games, Alabama has won when scoring at least 49 points.
That streak is now broken.
Tennessee defeated the Crimson Tide 52-49, in front of a packed Neyland Stadium. Although it was the Crimson Tide, with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young (who played fantastic) manning the helm, it was the Volunteer offense that stole the show. The 52 points allowed by Alabama are the most in any game the Tide have played in since 1907, according to ESPN’s Heather Dinich. It took star performances from key players for the Vols to get the upset.
Hendon Hooker has his Heisman moment for Tennessee
This was the Hendon Hooker show from the moment the Volunteers stepped onto the field. Hooker threw for 358 yards and five touchdowns to only one interception, and completed 71% of his passes.
Simply put, Hooker was masterful, at his best when his team needed him the most. On the game winning drive, Hooker threw a 27 yard pass to receiver Bru McCoy over the middle with pressure getting into his face. That’s not just an NFL throw, that’s a top tier NFL throw, a top 10 QB NFL throw.
Not only was Hooker masterful, he helped steady the Volunteers as things got dire for them in the later straits of the game. After a Crimson Tide scoop and score, Hooker led an 11 play drive that tied the game right back up.
Against the Tide.
Facing the defending Heisman Trophy winner.
Hooker may have just launched himself to the top of the race.
Jalin Hyatt shredded Alabama’s defense (highlights)
With Cedric Tillman out, the Volunteers needed a receiver to step up in his stead against an Alabama defense that has shown a weakness at corner and in the secondary.
Jalin Hyatt answered the bell and more.
Hyatt had six catches for 207 yards and FIVE TOUCHDOWNS, and was critical in the Vols win in Neyland. Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel did a great job of scheming him open using stacks and motions, giving Hyatt a free release. If you give Hyatt any space, he’ll make you pay.
Tennessee lined Hyatt up in the slot and outside, and nobody of Alabama’s secondary could check him.
FIVE TOUCHDOWNS FOR JALIN HYATT! TIE GAME!!!— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 15, 2022
Tennessee’s offense is built on pace, space and verticality, and that was evident against Alabama.
The Crimson Tide defense looked slow and confused, and Hyatt was a large reason why.
Tennessee’s defense brings the heat
In the early moments of the game, it looked like the Volunteer defense had a great gameplan, which was to put pressure on Young and the Crimson Tide offense.
From the jump, Tennessee brought heat and pressured Young. While it didn’t always work (Alabama still scored 42 points offensively), the pressure confused the offensive line and bought the DBs enough time to organize the coverage and execute.
The weakness of the Crimson Tide offense was pressure on Young in the passing game, and Tennessee did just enough to jump out to a lead and get the ball back to their offense.
In order to pull off upsets like these, star performances are needed, and Tennessee got them in droves.