KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — Chase McGrath scored a 40-yard field goal as time passed to give No. 6 Tennessee a 52-49 win over No. 3 Alabama on Saturday.
As the kick slammed through the uprights, some of the more than 100,000 fans stormed the field to celebrate the volunteers (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) who ended a 15-game loss streak to the Crimson Tide (6 -1, 3-1). It didn’t take long for the goalposts to drop.
Hendon Hooker drove the Vols 45 yards in 18 seconds to set up the winner. Jalin Hyatt caught six passes for 207 yards and a Tennessee-record five touchdowns.
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, a game decision due to a sprained right shoulder two weeks ago, completed 35 passes for 455 yards and two TDs.
Hyatt’s fifth TD catch put it at 49 with 3:26 in the fourth.
Young drove the Tide into Tennessee territory in the last minute, but Alabama stopped at the 33 with three straight incomplete passes. Will Reichard’s 50-yard field goal for the lead was far to the right.
With only 21 seconds to go, overtime seemed likely, but Hooker wasn’t done yet and outperformed the Heisman Trophy winner yet again.
Hooker completed two passes for 45 yards, the second a 27-yard charge on Bru McCoy that gave Tennessee a shot at a makeable field goal—and McGrath came through and gave the Volunteers their biggest win in years.
A week after Alabama kept Texas A&M out of the end zone during the final game of the game to avoid a disturbance, the tide turned and lost to Tennessee for the first time under coach Nick Saban.
Tennessee’s up-tempo offense jumped to a 21-7 lead in the first quarter and led 28-20 at halftime. All four touchdown drives lasted more than two minutes.
Young threw 205 yards and a touchdown in the first half, while Hooker had 166 yards and two scores. Young was not fired, but was knocked down in half five times.
Alabama messed up Tennessee’s lone run. The Vols recovered and scored four plays later.
Two key Tennessee players were unavailable. WR Cedric Tillman, who sustained a high ankle sprain against Akron, did not play despite surgery to speed up the recovery process three weeks ago. This was his third missed game… S Jaylen McCollough, a four-year starter, was arrested last weekend for aggravated assault. He had played in all 41 games since his freshman year with 32 starts.
Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker has thrown a touchdown pass in 18 consecutive games, equaling Heath Shuler’s (1992-94) school record. Young recovered. The Vols got the ball on the Tide 35 and scored four times later. … Hooker’s interception in the third quarter was his first in 260 passes.
Tennessee had the ball on the Alabama 2. Hooker broke the norm and went under center instead of the shotgun when the Vols lined up in the I formation. Fullback Princeton Fant, a tight end recruited as a running back, had his first carry since 2018 and scored.
THE TAKE OUT
Alabama: Alabama had no answer for a Tennessee team that didn’t want to give up. A late 49-42 lead slipped.
Tennessee: This was a big leap forward for the program that Josh Heupel is building. Playing in a mid-season game that impacts the playoffs is the first step to a taste of ultimate success.
Alabama: host of Mississippi State next Saturday.
Tennessee: host of Tennessee-Martin next Saturday.
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