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October 21, 2007
The Sunday Rewind: Tide 41, Volunteers 17
The Sunday Rewind is a weekly collection of notes and quotes from the Alabama football game of the weekend.
Rammer Jammer Hammers
The Alabama football team forged a rout in conference play Saturday against rival Tennessee, 41-17, and for a team that has made a habit of close final scores, it was indeed a rarity. The Crimson Tide briefly trailed 14-10 early in the game, but then responded with a 31-3 run to turn a game that is normally a nail-biter into a laugher. So where are the real hammers in Alabama's recent history? For purposes of The Sunday Rewind, we'll define a blowout as a margin of 20 points or more. So without further delay, below is a look at Alabama's last 10 wins by 20 points or more against SEC teams.
By the numbers
A look at a few numbers from Alabama's 41-17 win over Tennessee.
30:51 Over the last three quarters (45 minutes of game-clock time), the Crimson Tide held the ball for 30:51.
1.000 Alabama batted 1.000 on red-zone scoring chances, cashing in on each of five trips inside the Tennessee 20.
185 DJ Hall's 185 receiving yards was a career high.
286 A whopping 286 of Alabama's 510 total yards came on first down.
2 How strong has Alabama's offense been of late? Punter P.J. Fitzgerald has punted only two times in each of UA's last two games.
Quote of the day
Mustin takes blame
Not that much went wrong for Alabama Saturday, but linebacker Darren Mustin placed blame for 14 of Tennessee's 17 points squarely on his own shoulders.
"Those first two touchdowns, put that on me. That was my fault," Mustin said. "I missed the tackle on the goal line [on Arian Foster], and I missed the guy going to the flat [on Luke Stocker's TD catch]. That was my man."
Mustin's play improved and the senior finished with a team-high eight tackles. One of those stopped Tennessee on a key third-and-short to force a first-half punt. Mustin credited teammates for settling him mentally.
"They told me to calm down - my nerves were crazy. My teammates told me if I try to do too much it's like doing nothing at all," Mustin said.
Tennessee running back Arian Foster had a solid day against the Crimson Tide with 91 yards on 13 carries (7.0 avg.), but did most of his damage in the first quarter (eight carries, 49 yards, TD). Thanks to Alabama's big second-half lead, the 225-pounder did not get a carry in the fourth quarter as Tennessee gave up the balance in its offense in hopes of scoring more quickly.
"I think that was the biggest concern going into the game, could we stop them running the ball. Especially when they had big people in there with [two tight ends]," said coach Nick Saban. "The fact that we got ahead in the game, whether it was their game plan or not, and they started going to more 3- wide out, 4-wide out situations, probably helped us ... It changed the game a little bit and got them away from what we were most concerned about."
Said Rashad Johnson: "Once you stop one stop one portion of what they're doing, it's good for us to know they weren't going to run the ball. If they did it was just going to be a draw here and there."
DJ Hall on Tennessee freshman cornerback Brent Vinson: "I don't want to say we were picking on him, but we saw he was out of position a lot today. We were just kind of taking advantage of it." Rashad Johnson on freshman Kareem Jackson's two-interception day: "Kareem had an excellent day. Early in the game he was talking about maybe he had some back problems, maybe he was a little hurt, but he came out and made plays all game for us." Simeon Castille on the timing of Alabama's off week before a West Division clash with LSU: "I'm glad we're having a week off. My body is hurting, and I know a lot of other guys are feeling it too. A side of me [wishes] we were playing because we have all this momentum going, but I'll definitely take the week off."
DJ Hall now has five career games of 10 catches or more, four of which have come in SEC play, and two of which have come against the Volunteers. Terry Grant's place as Alabama's most prolific freshman rusher ever was sealed Saturday with his seventh touchdown, breaking the freshman record of Shaun Alexander. Grant's attempts (127) and yards (697) are also the most ever by a UA freshman. After a 61-yard return through the heart of the Volunteers' coverage unit, his career long, Alabama's Javier Arenas didn't get a kickoff to him the rest of the day. True freshman Chavis Williams saw action at linebacker in place of the injured Ezekial Knight, and made one assisted tackle.