KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Julio Jones set school records with 12 catches for 221 yards and the seventh-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide kept Tennessee winless in conference play with a 41-10 rout of the Volunteers at Neyland Stadium.
Greg McElroy completed 21-of-32 passes for 264 yards for the Crimson Tide (7-1, 4-1 SEC), who have won the last four meetings between the schools. Trent Richardson ran for 119 yards and a touch-down on 12 carries, while Mark Ingram had 14 rushes for 88 yards and two scores. Richardson added a receiving touchdown, while McElroy ran for one. Alabama recorded 536 yards of total offense and held Tennessee to just 315, scoring three touchdowns in the third quarter to put the game away.
Tauren Poole ran for 117 yards and a score on 14 carries for the Vols (2-5, 0-4) and quarterback Matt Simms completed 11-of-22 passes for 117 yards and was picked off once in the loss.
After each team failed on its opening possession, Tennessee used a big play to move in front. Alabama’s defense brought a heavy blitz on the right side on 2nd-and-1 from the Vols’ 41, but the Tennessee offense countered with a Poole run to the left. He avoided a couple defenders before rac-ing down the sideline 59 yards into the end zone with 8:44 left in the first. It was the longest rush of the season for the Vols.
The Tide answered with Jeremy Shelley’s 36-yard field goal, and Tennessee went three-and-out, which led to the go-ahead scoring drive by Alabama. Bridging the first and second quarters, the Crimson Tide went 59 yards in nine plays. Richardson’s 13-yard run put Alabama in opposing territory, and consecutive nine-yard gains put the ball on the 28. Two plays later, a 14-yard catch by Jones brought the ball to the 11, and McElroy followed two Richardson carries totaling 10 yards with a one-yard plunge into the end zone for a 10-7 lead with 18 seconds elapsed in the second.
Shelley missed a 25-yard field goal with a chance to extend Alabama’s lead, but made up for it with a 42-yarder in the final minute of the first half for a 13-7 game. Tennessee, however, was able to get into position for a Michael Palardy 32-yard field goal just before halftime to cut the margin to three.
Alabama carried a 13-10 lead into halftime, but broke the game wide open in the third quarter. On the first play from scrimmage, McElroy hit Jones for a 38-yard gain to gain the Tennessee 32. Ingram followed with a 12-yard run, and Jones caught a 19-yard pass down to the one on the next play. From there, Ingram punched it into the end zone for a 20-10 game 1:40 into the half.
Palardy missed a 52-yard field goal on the Vols’ first possession of the quarter, and, after an incompletion on the first play of the ensuing Alabama drive, Richardson rumbled 65 yards for a touchdown and a 17-point Crimson Tide lead.
Tennessee looked to get back into the game by marching to the Alabama 11 before a Simms pass was picked off by Robert Lester in the end zone. The Crimson Tide then put together a nine-play, 80-yard drive that all but sealed the outcome, as Ingram’s one-yard touchdown run gave the visitors a 34-10 advantage headed into the fourth quarter. AJ McCarron, who relieved McElroy in the fourth quarter, threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Richardson midway through the final stanza to account for the final margin.