Tide-Vols Tidbits: Kamara Finally Being Used As Envisioned

Alabama Defense Has Habit Of Throttling Opposing Offenses

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 - by Special to Chattanoogan.com
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- After two consecutive weeks on the road, No. 9 Tennessee returns home to play host to cross division rival and top-ranked Alabama at Neyland Stadium on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Saturday's game will be broadcast on CBS as Tennessee (5-1, 2-1 SEC) will appear on the SEC on CBS Game of the Week for the fourth consecutive week.

The Vols are the first team in history to be featured in four straight weeks by the network.

Festivities for the big showdown kick off with the SEC Network's traveling pregame show, SEC Nation, broadcasting live from the Ayres Hall lawn beginning at 10 a.m.  

Fans are encouraged attend the SEC Nation broadcast and to arrive early for a free SEC Nation t-shirt and a chance to win tickets to the SEC Championship, a Regions bike, Belk prize pack and more.

The Vols and Alabama (6-0, 3-0 SEC) are meeting for the 99th time and renewing their rivalry on "The Third Saturday in October" for the first time in four seasons.

Tennessee will be looking to snap a nine-game losing streak to the Crimson Tide as it meets Alabama as a ranked team for the first time since 2007. Saturday also marks the first time since 2005 that Tennessee and Alabama are facing off while simultaneously ranked and the first time since 1999 that both are ranked inside the top 10.

Tennessee suffered its first loss of the season and saw its 11-game winning streak dating to last season come to an end last Saturday when it fell 45-38 in double overtime at then-No. 8 Texas A&M.

The Vols fell behind 28-7 in the third quarter, but mounted a furious comeback to tie the the game at 35-35 at the end of regulation. While on the comeback trail Tennessee posted 684 yards of total offense -- the third-most in Tennessee history and its most ever against a ranked opponent.

Tailback Alvin Kamara helped lead the charge offensively for UT as the redshirt junior racked up 312 all-purpose yards to set a Tennessee record. Kamara finished with 127 rushing yards and two touchdowns, as well as 161 receiving yards and another score. He became only the second player in UT history to record a game of 100 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving and was the first Power 5 player in 20 years to log 125 yards rushing and 150 yards receiving in the same game. 

Alabama comes into Neyland Stadium boasting the nation's longest active win streak at 18 games. The Crimson Tide maintained their perfect record in 2016 by picking up a 49-30 win at Arkansas.

Alabama got four total touchdowns from true freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts and recorded a non-offensive touchdown for the eighth consecutive game when Minkah Fitzpatrick returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown and Tim Williams took a fumble back 23 yards for a score.

The Crimson Tide are allowing just 292.5 yards of total offense per game -- the second best figure in the SEC -- and rank first in FBS in terms of rush yards allowed at a paltry 69.2 per game.

AGAINST NO. 1

Tennessee faces a ranked opponent for the fourth consecutive game when it plays host to No. 1 Alabama at Neyland Stadium.

It will be the Vols’ 12th game in program history against a top-ranked foe, with UT holding a 2-9 record in those games.

The last time Tennessee prevailed over an opponent ranked No. 1 was in 1985 when an unranked Vols team defeated Auburn, 38-20, in Knoxville.

OFFENSIVE DISPLAY

In the thrilling, double-overtime loss to the Aggies, the Tennessee offense exploded for 684 yards of total offense – the most since 2012 and the third-most in program history.

UT finished with 402 yards through the air and 282 yards on the ground. It was the Vols’ first 400-yard passing day since Nov. 10, 2012, when Tyler Bray threw for 404 against Missouri. The 282 rushing yards were the most for Tennessee since posting 331 in last season’s regular-season finale against Vanderbilt.

The 684 yards of total offense were the second-most recorded by Tennessee in a road game and the most in program history against a ranked opponent.

MOST SEC OFFENSE EVER (SO FAR)

Since the start of league play this season, Tennessee has racked up 1,539 yards of total offense. That figure is good for the most ever recorded by Tennessee through the first three games of an SEC slate.

Through the first six games of 2016, UT has 2,592 yards of total offense. That puts the Vols on pace for their second straight 5,000-plus yard season and only their fourth since 2000.

KAMARA DAZZLES AT A&M

The 312 all-purpose yards by Kamara are the second-most recorded by an FBS player this season, trailing only Dalvin Cook, who posted 329 for Florida State against South Florida on Sept. 24.

Kamara is only the second Vol in history to record 100 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards in the same game. Jamal Lewis had 128 rushing yards and 105 receiving yards in a 59-31 win over Kentucky in 1997.

Kamara is also the first SEC player to post a 100/100 performance since Florida’s Chris Rainey accomplished the feat against Tennessee in 2011.

CARRIES FOR #6Kamara rushed 18 times for 127 yards last week, marking just the fifth time in 19 career at Tennessee the Norcross, Ga., native has logged 15 or more carries in a single game.

In those five games, Kamara gained 559 rushing yards and six touchdowns, good for averages of 111.8 yards and 1.2 touchdowns per game.

SCORING FAST

Tennessee has scored 25 offensive touchdowns this season and is averaging1:59 in time of possession on those touchdown drives.

The Vols have six TD drives of fewer than a minute this season. Their longest TD drive, coming against Ohio on Sept. 17, took 4:54. The most plays Tennessee has used in a touchdown drive this season is 12, achieved early in the fourth quarter at Texas A&M (Oct. 8). That drive ate 3:30 off the game clock.

Tennessee's average of 1:59 per touchdown drive ranks as the second-fastest in the SEC, trailing only Missouri which has scored 23 touchdowns at a rate of 1:44per touchdown drive in 2016.

BARNETT THRIVING IN SEC PLAY

Defensive end Derek Barnett owns an impressive 25 sacks and 42.5 TFLs for his career. Even more remarkably, 22 of those sacks and 33.5 of those TFLs have come in SEC play.

Barnett’s 22 sacks in SEC play alone would rank inside the top five on the active list of FBS career sack leaders (Barnett’s 25 total career sacks currently ranks second).

In two career games against Alabama, Barnett owns six tackles, 2.5 TFLs and a sack.

TENNESSEE-ALABAMA ON CBS

Tennessee and Alabama are set to meet in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week for the second striaght season and for the third time in the last four years.

The Vols are the first SEC team in history to appear in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week four weeks in a row (9/24 vs. UF; 10/1 at UGA; 10/8 at TAMU).

(Contact Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com and on Twitter @larryfleming44)


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