The highly anticipated top 10 match-up between Alabama and Tennessee lived up to its expectations and more. There was no shortage of offense as Tennessee beat Alabama 52-49 on a last-second field goal. Bryce Young was finally able to return to action after battling a shoulder injury for two weeks and had one of his best games of the season, but unfortunately, the defense did not show up to play.

Here are some key takeaways from the game.

  1. Penalties

All year long Alabama has been flirting with losing a game because of their mental errors and Saturday it became a reality. Alabama was flagged 17 times for 130 yards, a school record. The Crimson Tide were flagged seven times in the first quarter alone and for the third time this season they had double-digit penalties. To be fair, there seemed to be a lot of home cooking going on by the refs with some very questionable calls only on Alabama and lack thereof against the home team. One of those questionable calls came at a crucial part in the game when Kool-Aid McKinstry intercepted a pass in the end-zone and returned it back inside the Tennessee 20-yard line that would have sealed the game for the Crimson Tide, but Malachi Moore was flagged for pass interference and Tennessee tied the game up the very next play. Alabama was consistently on the wrong end of 50-50 calls all night long.

  1. Bryce Young

In his first game back from his shoulder injury, Bryce Young looked like he hadn’t missed a step. Young did everything in his power to keep Alabama in the game, looking like an escape artist in the pocket avoiding the Tennessee pass rush and finding open receivers. Young threw for a season-best 455 yards on 35-of-52 passing, including two touchdowns. Despite coming back from a shoulder injury Young appeared to have no fear of injury as he was constantly staying in the pocket taking big hit after big hit, some that should have been flagged but weren’t, and delivering strikes to his receivers.

  1. Jahmyr Gibbs

For the third week in a row Jahmyr Gibbs rushed for over 100 yards. Against a solid Tennessee run defense, Gibbs was able to record 103 yards on 24 carries and scored three touchdowns. Gibbs also had a decent game in the passing attack catching five passes from Bryce Young for 48 yards. Week after week Gibbs continues to be a star in this offense as a threat to score a touchdown every time he touches the ball.

  1. Secondary

Saturday, Alabama’s secondary played its worst game of the season. Tennessee quarterback completed 21 of 30 passes for 385 yards and five touchdowns. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee’s leading receiver, was open all night long, catching six passes for 207 yards and five touchdowns. On top of giving up the big plays, the Alabama secondary was committing pass interference penalties that extended Tennessee offensive drives. 

  1. Cameron Latu

Alabama tight end  Cameron Latu had his best game of the season, catching six balls for 90 yards as well as catching a touchdown from Bryce Young on a crucial fourth and goal play. Latu hasn’t had as big a pass catching role as expected but Saturday he created mismatches for Tennessee and took advantage of them. After his big game against Tennessee, he is on pace to have a better year than he did last season.

The Crimson Tide will need to shake off the loss in a hurry because next week the 16th ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs come to Bryant-Denny Stadium for Alabama’s homecoming game.

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