Tennessee's coaching staff was finally on the doorstep of being the nation's No. 1 national team in eight points Alabama had time with seven minutes to go before the end of the game, so Jeremy Pruitt & Co. had to make a strong showing. Sure, Alabama lost his star quarterback in the second quarter, but Tennessee had to play longer even with his backup quarterback. The Vols were not always flawless and made some mistakes, but they played hard, kicking each other and being intimidated neither by the venue nor by the opponent.
And who knows how the game might have turned out if two moments had been a bad quarterback? The game had gone the other way for the Vols. The shot by Jarrett Guarantano on Jauan Jennings on the creative, timed, perfectly coordinated call of Jim Chaney in the second quarter was overshadowed by what happened later, however Tennessee still cost four points. Fumbling on the goal line seemed to be a so-called handoff, which would have turned the touchdown into a one-score game.
Defensively, the volumes seemed to hang when Tagovailoa was in the game, and they rightly resorted to backup Mac Jones with a few creative veiled pressures that confuse him and lead to a sack and a rushed incompletion , The Tide scored three touchdowns on their first four possessions with Tagovailoa, but with Jones they only scored a touchdown on six possessions, and that happened after the Vols had generated a second straight three-and-out to open the second half. 19659003] Tennessee has been penalized thirteen times for 93 yards, easily in both highs of the season, but many of these mistakes can frankly be attributed to the talent differences between the teams. At the end of the day, despite the frustration with officials, some missed opportunities and lost Brian Maurer due to injury and Daniel Bituli to an exclusion, Tennessee was right there in the fourth quarter against a more talented team. Despite the loss, Tennessee felt like another step forward.