By: Garrett Franks
KNOXVILLE, TN. – For the first time in 16 years the Tennessee Volunteers defeated the Crimson Tide 52-49 in an instant classic.
The game was nothing short of drama, streaks and missed field goals. Special teams was the Tide achilles heel, as Will Reichard missed the go-ahead field goal with 0:15 remaining in the fourth. Those 15 seconds proved to be too much time on the field. Hendon Hooker commanded the offense 45 yards on three plays to set up the game winning field goal from 40 yards out.
Hendon Hooker was clinical in the air tonight as he went 21-30 for 385 yards, five touchdowns to one pick.
All five Tennessee passing TDs went to one man, that being Jalin Hyatt. Hyatt, broke the school record for receiving touchdowns with five. Hyatt showed flashes of greatness as he diced Alabama’s defense for 206 yards.
What will get lost on this historic day is the nearly mythical performance Alabama QB Bryce Young put on. all of Neyland Stadiums 100,000 plus fans held their breath anytime Young had the ball in his hands. Coming off a scary looking shoulder injury two weeks back against Arkansas channeled his inner Houdini.
While only amassing two touchdown passes, Young was all over the field tonight evading pressure from the Tennessee front seven. Young threw for over 455 yards on nearly 50 attempts. He had moments that left the Neyland Stadium press box gasping for air. Will his game get remembered in the same regard as Hyatt’? No, but Young deserves credit. He easily could have rested his shoulder another week but he decided to play through it. It’s a performance that the Alabama faithful must not forget when this game gets talked about.
Jahmyr Gibbs was another Bama player who left it all on the field. Being a Swiss army knife of a player he contributed at all levels of the game. Gibbs rushed for over 100 yards and scoring three TDs. He also shows his versatility in the passing game, bringing in five receptions for 48 yards.
The Tide will look to rebound against a red-hot Mississippi State team next week at 6 p.m. CT in Bryant-Denny Stadium.