Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper set a school record for receiving yards in a game with 224 yards on nine catches, including touchdown catches of 80 and 41 yards, to lead the No. 4-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1 overall; 4-1 in the Southeastern Conference) to a 34-20 win over the Tennessee Volunteers (3-5 overall; 0-4 in the SEC) before a capacity crowd of 102,455 Saturday night at Neyland Stadium.
With Justin Worley sidelined due to injury, redshirt sophomore Nathan Peterman drew his second career start for Tennessee. After two series, he was replaced by sophomore Joshua Dobbs, who went on to spark the Vols’ offense. Dobbs finished 19-of-32 for 192 passing yards with two touchdowns. He ran for 75 yards on 19 carries. It was the most rushing yards by a Tennessee quarterback since Tee Martin had 81 vs. Syracuse on Sept. 5, 1998.
The Vols rushed for 181 yards, the most Alabama has allowed this season. They previous high for a Tide opponent was 107 by Florida on Sept. 20. The total was the most by Tennessee in the series since 2010 when the Vols rushed for 184 yards.
The victory, Alabama’s eighth straight in the storied rivalry with Tennessee, marked Alabama’s fifth consecutive game in the series scoring at least 30 points against the Vols. Alabama cruised to an early 27-0 lead and withstood a mid-game Tennessee rally to secure the victory, scoring quickly in the early going on Cooper’s pair of touchdown grabs, quieting the crowd.
Linebacker Reggie Ragland led the Tide with a game-high nine tackles (six solos) with 1.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a pass breakup. Safety Nick Perry had eight tackles. Overall, the Alabama defense had seven tackles for loss, two quarterback sacks, three pass break-ups, a forced fumble and a pass interception. Freshman punter JK Scott had four punts in the game for 171 yards, an average of 42.8 yards per punt. Three of his four punts were downed inside the Tennessee 20-yard line and he had a 60-yard punt in the game.
The Crimson Tide gets next weekend off before resuming the season at LSU on Saturday, November 8 in Baton Rouge, La. Tennessee travels to South Carolina to face the Gamecocks on Nov. 1. That game kicks off at 7:30 p.m., and airs on the SEC Network and can be heard on the Vol Network.