No. 1 Alabama easily dismisses yet another opponent
By MARQ BURNETT
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Note to the college football world: Don't trash talk Alabama before a game because it will get back to them and they will use it as motivation.
Tennessee coach Butch Jones and his players referred to the Crimson Tide as the "red team" during the week. Jones also said he felt his team could play with anyone and it didn't sit well with the No. 1 team in the nation or its quarterback.
"I never really say anything about the other team, but I kind of took this one personal," Tide quarterback AJ McCarron said. "I felt disrespected For them to say we don't deserve their respect (for them) to call us Alabama and to call us the red team, and for their head coach to come out and say they can play against anybody, I don't think we're just anybody.
"We've won two national championships in a row and we're undefeated right now. So we're not just anybody."
Added cornerback Deion Belue, "We can be the red team, but we're going to be the Navy Seal red team. Whenever we step in, it's time for everything to stop and we get straight to business."
The Crimson Tide used its "straight to business" approach and pounded the Volunteers 45-10 on a chilly Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Add Jones to the growing list of Tennessee coaches who've tried and failed to defeat Alabama under Nick Saban.
Add Alabama's 2009 class as one that has never lost to the Vols.
"It feels good. I'll never hear any trash talk from them," McCarron said. "I'll always have the upper hand on that one. It's just a good win, for my class especially, the '09
class. To come in and be 5-0 against these guys.
"It's a great accomplishment for us as a class and to get another win today is a good accomplishment for our team."
It was safe to assume the game was over when Alabama called two consecutive screen passes to sophomore wide receiver Amari Cooper. The first one, ran on the left side, was called back because of a block in the back penalty.
One the second one which was ran to the right side, Cooper turned on the jets and outran everyone for the 54-yard touchdown. Just three plays into the game, Alabama was up 7-0 and it didn't get better from there.
The Tide proceeded to score touchdowns on its next three drives and the game was at 28-0 before anyone could blink.
Sophomore running back T.J. Yeldon had a couple of scores while McCarron also found senior wide receiver Kevin Norwood wide open for a 22-yard touchdown pass.
Alabama's offense put on a clinic in the first half and showed the Vols why they can't play with everyone.
"I've been really pleased with the way our guys have come out the last four games that we've played," Saban said. "Tonight we got off to a really good start, played physical and played with a lot of toughness."
For the game, the Tide amassed 479 yards of offense. McCarron was an efficient 19-of-27 for 275 yards and two touchdowns, while the run game plowed away for 204 yards three touchdowns and averaged 5.5 yards a carry.
"I've said to y'all the past few weeks that I feel like we're playing better each week," McCarron said. "I felt like we showed that today. We were explosive. Really the only time they stopped us is when we stopped ourselves. We felt like they really didn't stop us."
The Vols were able to make a few plays offensively, particularly in the second half when true freshman quarterback Josh Dobbs entered the game in place of the injured Justin Worley. Tennessee finished with 322 yards of total offense, including just 127 on the ground, well below their season average.
"I was proud of us. We stepped up to the challenge," linebacker Trey DePriest said. "They're a good rushing team and they're big up front. That was the challenge all week that our front seven would struggle with their offensive linemen, but we answered the call."
Now, Alabama (8-0, 4-0 SEC) has two weeks to prepare for its clash with LSU. With the Tigers already having two losses, the game doesn't have the same national championship implications it has in years past, but that doesn't mean it won't be a slugfest as usual.
"I expect an exciting game," Norwood said. "I always look forward to playing these guys. I expect a physical game and I think that's what it's going to be."
Added Saban, "You get defined by what you do every week.
"It's going to be important for us to be able to focus during this bye week and try to improve and try to get more players to play winning football."