By John Zenor
T.J. Yeldon scored on three 1-yard runs, AJ McCarron passed for 275 yards and two touchdowns, and No. 1 Alabama rolled along to a 45-10 victory over Tennessee on Saturday.
Landon Collins returned an interception 89 yards for another score for the Crimson Tide (8-0, 5-0 Southeastern Conference), which raced to a 35-0 halftime lead. Alabama has outscored its last six opponents 246-26.
McCarron completed 19 of 27 passes, including a 54-yard touchdown to Amari Cooper and a 22-yarder to Kevin Norwood, both in the first half. It was Cooper’s longest catch of the season and only his second touchdown.
The Volunteers (4-4, 1-3) dropped their seventh straight in the rivalry game, tying the most consecutive wins for either team. They couldn’t build on the momentum from an upset of No. 20 South Carolina that snapped a 19-game skid against ranked teams.
Tennessee also won seven in a row from 1995-2001, but Butch Jones’ program clearly has plenty of catching up to do.
Jones might have gotten a head start when he turned to freshman quarterback Josh Dobbs to open the second half in his first college action, replacing a struggling Justin Worley.
Worley was 8-of-15 passing for 120 yards and was intercepted twice, including the pick-six to Collins.
Alabama’s Kenyan Drake ran for 89 yards on 14 carries while Yeldon ran 15 times for 72 yards in his first three-touchdown game. Kevin Norwood caught six passes for 112 yards, including an acrobatic grab when he extended his arms to collect the ball while falling backward.
Dobbs didn’t make Tennessee’s last road trip to Florida, and seemed destined for a redshirt season. He did seem to provide a second-half spark.
Dobbs completed 5 of 12 passes for 75 yards, ran three times for 19 yards. Fellow freshman Marquez North, who helped set up the game-winning score against South Carolina, gained 87 yards on four catches.
Rajion Neal gained 70 yards on 13 carries.
The Tide, which earlier had a 104-0 scoring binge ended, had allowed only nine points in its first four home games. Neal’s 3-yard run early in the fourth quarter was the first touchdown Alabama had allowed at Bryant-Denny Stadium this season.
Dobbs didn’t complete a pass on his first drive but Neal’s 43-yard run set up Michael Palardy’s field to snap Alabama’s string of unanswered points. That was the fifth-biggest such streak in Tide history, going back to the third quarter of the Kentucky game on Oct. 12.
Tennessee did have early scoring chances. Worley misfired on fourth-and-7 from Alabama’s 34. He led the Vols to the Tide 24 late in the first half but Collins then returned an interception the distance in the final seconds.
Collins took over the starting spot this week when Vinnie Sunseri went down with a season-ending knee injury against Arkansas.
Alabama starting nose tackle Brandon Ivory missed the game for unspecified medical reasons.