Preview: Tennessee at Alabama
Courtesy SEC Sports
TIME: 11:30 a.m. CT
WHERE: Tuscaloosa, Ala., Bryant-Denny Stadium (92,138)
LIVE TV: CBS Sports [Vern Lundquist, play-by-play; Gary Danielson, color analyst; Tracy Wolfson, sideline reporter]
Lane Kiffin is in his 1st season at Tennessee and in his 3rd season overall with a record of 8-18 (.308). The Volunteers’ offensive coordinator is Jim Chaney and Monte Kiffin serves as the defensive coordinator. Nick Saban is in his second season at Alabama with a record of 26-8 (.765) and 16th overall with a record of 132-67-1 (.663). The Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator is Jim McElwain and the defensive coordinator is Kirby Smart.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN TENNESSEE HAS THE BALL
Senior tailback Montario Hardesty is the feature back in UT's offense after three seasons as a backup. In six starts during the 2009 season, Hardesty has produced rushing efforts of 160, 89, 96, 140, 90 and 97 yards and scored 6 rushing touchdowns, one in each game. The New Bern, N.C., native is averaging 112.0 yards per game and 5.4 yards per carry. He currently ranks 12th in the nation and 4th in the SEC in rushing yards per game. He is on pace for 1,344 rushing yards in 2009. In his last two games, Jonathan Crompton has completed 40 of 70 passes for 569 yards and 6 touchdowns vs. just one interception. Rolando McClain leads the Crimson Tide with 49 total tackles and 32 solo stops. He has 6.5 tackles for loss (-28), two sacks (-19), two interceptions, a pass breakup, a forced fumble and seven quarterback hurries. Terrence Cody boasts 15 tackles, including 5.0 tackles for loss (-10) a pass breakup and two quarterback hurries. Linebacker Eryk Anders leads the Crimson Tide with 4.0 sacks (-35 yards) while defensive end Marcell Dareus has 3.5 sacks (-25). Cornerback Javier Arenas is 3rd on the team with three sacks (-31 yards). Alabama has not allowed a touchdown in eight quarters.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN ALABAMA HAS THE BALL
Rico McCoy led the team in tackles for the 3rd-straight game vs. Georgia, posting nine stops to go with a pass break-up and a quarterback hurry. He leads the team at the halfway point with 53 stops after posting 87 a year ago. His 53 tackles (8.8 per game) rank 4th in the SEC as well. While Eric Berry is 2nd nationally among active players in interceptions with 13, he is also 2nd on the team and seventh in the SEC in tackles with 50, an average of 8.3 per game. He is also tied for 3rd on the team in tackles for loss with 4.5 for 8 yards. Mark Ingram has rushed for 905 yards and 8 touchdowns through seven games this season for 129.29 yards per game average to rank 4th nationally and 1st in the SEC in rushing. Ingram has also added 19 receptions for 186 yards and three scores. Greg McElroy has been impressive in his first seven games as the Crimson Tide’s starting quarterback, completing 59.5 percent (103-of-173) of his passes for 1,325 yards and 9 touchdowns with only three interceptions. The junior boasts a 137.57 passing efficiency rating, which ranks 40th nationally and 4th in the SEC. Trent Richardson has rushed for 359 yards and 4 touchdowns on just 66 attempts.
After starting off the 2008 season a shaky 1-of-4 in field goal attempts, UT placekicker Daniel Lincoln has hit 8-of-10 attempts thus far in the 2009 campaign. He converted on a career-long field 49-yard field goal to seal Tennessee’s win over Ohio and made 26-yard and 30-yard kicks in the last two games. He has now made a field goal in five straight contests. After not having to punt in the season opener, Chad Cunningham has kicked 23 times for a 41.8-yard average. Alabama senior placekicker Leigh Tiffin is rapidly moving up the Alabama career scoring chart. After the conclusion of the South Carolina game, when he kicked two field goals and scored 8 points, the Muscle Shoals, Ala., native has 325 career points. He sits in 3rd place just one point behind Michael Proctor (326) for 2nd place. Arenas is the NCAA active leader in career punt returns, yards, touchdowns,returns per game and yards per game.
Record: UA, 48-36-7 • Last:Alabama, 29-9 (2008 at Knoxville) Alabama holds a 48-36-7 advantage in the all-time series dating to 1901, but the series is tied at 4-4 in games played in Tuscaloosa. Tennessee's last win at Alabama was a 51-43, 5-overtime thriller in 2003. For much of its history, the UT-Alabama rivalry has been characterized by long winning streaks, but no team has won three straight since Tennessee won 7 in-a-row from 1995-2001. The Vols are 2-7 all-time versus teams ranked No. 1.