University of Alabama

Alabama football: Closer look at today's game at Tennessee

No. 7 Alabama (6-1, 3-1 SEC) at Tennessee (2-4, 0-3), 7 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: Alabama by 16 1/2.

Series Record: Alabama leads 47-38-7.

Last Meeting: 2009, Alabama 12-10.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Alabama must keep its annual meeting with Tennessee from turning into a trap game with a bye week next. The Volunteers still are looking for their first SEC win under new coach Derek Dooley, and a win over the Crimson Tide would end a three-game losing skid to their rival.

KEY MATCHUP

Alabama’s passing game against Tennessee’s defense. Opponents have succeeded at limiting Crimson Tide RBs Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, and QB Greg McElroy and the Alabama receivers have struggled to make them pay for that decision. McElroy might find more success against a Volunteers defense that has struggled to stop the pass this season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Alabama: Ingram still is averaging 91.2 yards rushing per game, even though he has been held in check three weeks in a row. Tennessee has been more successful at stopping the run than the pass.

Tennessee: QB Tyler Bray. Dooley pledged to play the backup before halftime against the Crimson Tide in hopes of giving the Volunteers’ struggling offense some new life. Matt Simms is still the starter.

FACTS & FIGURES

Dooley worked for Alabama coach Nick Saban for six seasons at LSU and one season with the NFL’s Dolphins. They never have coached against each other. … Alabama has not allowed an opposing RB to rush for 100 yards in 41 consecutive games. … Alabama has a 21-20-1 margin in games played in Knoxville.

— Associated Press

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