Alabama closes out October with Tennessee showdown

Alabama closes out October with Tennessee showdown

Alabama and Tennessee meet Saturday in one of the longest standing rivalries in the SEC.
THE GAME: The University of Alabama football team continues its three game Southeastern Conference home stand Saturday as the University of Tennessee Volunteers visit Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game between the Crimson Tide and Volunteers is set to kickoff at 2:30 p.m. CDT on CBS. Verne Lundquist will serve as the play-by-play announcer, with Gary Danielson at his side as the color analyst. The two will be joined by sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson. Eli Gold and Phil Savage will handle the radio call on the Crimson Tide Sports Network, with Chris Stewart serving as sideline reporter.

RANKINGS: Alabama enters week nine of the 2013 season ranked first in the Associated Press and USA TODAY Coaches polls. Tennessee is unranked.

TIDE NO. 1 IN BCS STANDINGS: Alabama comes in at No. 1 in the first BCS Standings release of the 2013 season. The BCS percentage is calculated by averaging the percent totals of the Harris Interactive, USA TODAY Coaches and six computer rankings. The Crimson Tide garnered a .9841 average, which is 0.0493 higher than Florida State coming in at No. 2 (.9348). Oregon is third with an average of .9320 while Ohio State follows at .8553. Rounding out the top 10 is Missouri (.8219), Stanford (.7414), Miami (.7200), Baylor (.7120), Clemson (.6249) and Texas Tech (.6220).

TENNESSEE: Tennessee is coming off of its biggest win under the direction of first-year head coach Butch Jones, a 23-21 victory over then-No. 11 South Carolina last Saturday. Jones comes to Knoxville after three seasons as the head coach at Cincinnati. The Vols are 4-3 on the season and 1-2 in SEC play with an 0-2 record away from home. Justin Worley quarterbacks Tennessee and has thrown for 1,119 yards with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions on the season. His leading receiver is Pig Howard with 23 receptions for 251 yards and three touchdowns. Senior Rajion Neal leads the Volunteers rushing attack and ranks tied for fourth in the SEC with an average of 99.0 yards per game on the ground and eight touchdowns.

SERIES HISTORY: Alabama leads the all-time series with Tennessee, 49-38-7, and has won six straight in the series after a 44-13 victory in Knoxville last season. The Tide has also won four straight in Tuscaloosa by an average margin of 24-9 while the average margin of victory during the current six-game streak is 34.0-10.8. Alabama and Tennessee first met during the 1901 season and have played every season since 1928 (except for the 1943 season when Alabama did not field a team due to World War II) and will be playing for the 97th time Saturday.

HARD TO CONVERT: No team in the SEC has allowed fewer first downs (100) than Alabama, which ranks fourth overall in the nation. Over the last five games the Crimson Tide defense has allowed an average of just 12.5 first downs per game and that does not included the season low of seven first downs allowed vs. Virginia Tech in the season opener. Outside of the Texas A&M game, where the Crimson Tide allowed 31 first downs, Alabama has surrendered just 69 in the remaining six games, an average of 11.5 per game.

TOTAL OFFENSE MARGIN: Through the first two games of the 2013 season, Alabama was outgained by 66 yards of total offense. Over the past five contests, the Crimson Tide has outgained its opposition by a staggering 1,364 yards (2,449 yards to 1,085).

CLEAN GAME FOR TIDE: There were three statistical categories that totaled zero for Alabama against Arkansas and went a long way toward the Crimson Tide's 52-0 victory. The Tide did not commit a penalty, a turnover or allow a sack as they registered the second shutout of the season.

QB PROTECTION: Alabama has not allowed a sack since the third quarter of the Ole Miss game on Sept. 28. That is three straight games without a sack and part of a fourth game, a string of 13 quarters. After allowing four sacks in the opener against Virginia Tech, Alabama has surrendered just three sacks in the last six games. The Crimson Tide ranks 15th nationally and third in the SEC, giving up just 1.00 sacks per game.

DEFENSE IN SHUTDOWN MODE: Since Alabama's 49-42 victory at Texas A&M in the second game of the season, the Crimson Tide's defense has been living up to a standard established by great Tide defenses of the past. In the past five games, or 20 quarters of action, the Alabama defense has surrendered just one touchdown (at Kentucky). In those five games, the Tide is allowing 3.2 points per game (1 TD, 3 FG), 3.86 yards per play (1,085 yards in 281 plays), 152.0 passing yards per game (760 yards) and 74.2 rushing yards per game (371 yards). During that five game stretch, the Tide has outscored its opponents 201-16 or 40.2-3.2 points per game.

UNANSWERED: Alabama has scored 69 unanswered points dating back to a Kentucky touchdown at the 7:05 mark of the third quarter in Lexington on Oct. 12.

NEXT GAME: Alabama has a bye week on Nov. 2 before welcoming No. 13 LSU to Bryant-Denny Stadium for the two programs' annual early November showdown. The Crimson Tide has won two straight in the series, including the 2012 Allstate BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans.


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