The No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0) picked up the biggest win of the college football season so far on Saturday when they took down the Georgia Bulldogs – who were the No. 3 ranked team in the country at the time. Next up for Bama is a Tennessee Volunteers (2-2) team reeling from their worst loss to Kentucky in over 80 years. Here are the three keys to an Alabama victory.
By Steve Wright
Keep on keeping on
The defense still isn’t where it needs to be, but the Alabama offense is making short work of every opponent it comes up against. This is especially true early on in games, which is when the offense seems to be at its very best. The passing game behind Mac Jones and his amazing wide receiver corps routinely goes for over 400 yards, while the running game spearheaded by Najee Harris is running through holes big enough to back a semi through. Tennessee simply doesn’t have the offensive output to keep this remotely close if the Tide is on Song.
Protect the QB
About the only knock on the Tide offense this season has been some issues with protecting the quarterback. Georgia had three sacks last weekend and the line has given up seven on the season. There have also been five hurries in the past two games. Tennessee started the season with a four sack performance against South Carolina – with 2.5 of those coming from Deandre Johnson. They have eight sacks on the season and a big game here from their pass rushers would need to be nullified by better play along the front offensively.
The only way that Tennessee has a chance here is if something weird happens. Their running game went for -1 rushing yard for the game against Georgia and the Vols don’t have the starts to push Alabama if all things are equal. Nick Saban knows that without turnovers – or masses of penalties or weird special teams plays – then this game belongs to the Tide. Just keeping things nice and simple and letting the talent take over will be enough, so securing the ball and not giving Tennessee anything to get excited about is important.
Saturday‘s game kicks off at 2:30 PM CT (3:30 PM ET). Watch on the CBS Network.