Tennessee vs. Alabama score, takeaways: No. 6 Vols exorcise demons, beat No. 3 Tide for first time since 2006

Tennessee put an end to 15 years of misery at the hands of Alabama on Saturday as the No. 6 Volunteers upset the No. 3 Crimson Tide 52-49 at Neyland Stadium for Tennessee's first win in the rivalry since 2006. Vols kicker Chase McGrath drilled a 40-yard field goal as time expired to lift his team to the rousing win. No one was more integral to UT's success than wide receiver Jalin Hyatt, who caught a school-record five touchdowns as Tennessee improved to 6-0 with the victory.

A missed 50-yard field goal attempt from Alabama kicker Will Reichard with 15 seconds left gave Tennessee a last-gasp effort, and Vols quarterback Hendon Hooker capitalized by moving the ball into field goal range with two quick completions. Hooker completed 21 of 30 passes for 386 yards with all five touchdowns to Hyatt; he also threw his first interception of the season. Hyatt totaled 207 yards with his five scores coming on six total catches in the game.

The last time Tennessee beat Alabama, Phillip Fulmer and Mike Shula respectively roamed the sidelines. Nick Saban entered Saturday's game 15-0 since taking over at Bama against six different UT coaches, but his normally stout defense could not come up with enough stops against the Vols' top-ranked offense.

Putting an end to the streak was not easy. Tennessee squandered a 28-10 second-quarter lead by allowing Alabama to score on five straight possessions at one point over the second and third quarters. Reigning Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Bryce Young put forth a valiant effort in his return from a shoulder injury for the Tide and had Alabama ahead 49-42 midway through the fourth quarter.

Young completed 35 of 52 passes for 455 yards with two touchdowns as running back Jahmyr Gibbs (103 yards, three touchdowns) carried a heavy load for the Tide on the ground. Yet, no matter how much ground Young and Gibbs covered, second-year Tennessee coach Josh Heupel was always able to dial up an offensive answer.

Hyatt's heroics

For a third straight game, Tennessee played a ranked SEC foe without star WR Cedric Tillman, who is on the mend from an ankle injury suffered against Akron on Sept. 17. But playmakers keep stepping for the Vols in Tillman's absence, and on Saturday, it was Hyatt, who doubled his season total by tying the SEC record with five touchdown receptions in a single game.

The junior cemented his place in program lore with a legendary performance. Only one of his six grabs was not for a score, and three of his six TDs came from 35 yards out or more. Over the past two games, Hyatt has seven TDs, which is equal to the number he caught during his entire career entering Tennessee's win over LSU last week.

Hooker also ran for 56 yards, while Jabari Small and Princeton Fant added rushing scores.

The 52 points scored by Tennessee were the most against Alabama in any game since Sewanee posted 54 back in 1907. It was the third-most points scored against the Tide in their program history, and the 101 combined points Saturday were the most in rivalry history.

Hello, College Football Playoff?

Saturday's win establishes Tennessee as a legitimate threat to No. 1 Georgia in the SEC East and puts the Vols firmly in the College Football Playoff conversation. Tennessee hosts UT-Martin next week before returning to the SEC grind against No. 22 Kentucky on Oct. 29. Then comes the all-important game at UGA on Nov. 5.

Though the matchup figures to be critical in the division title race, the Vols may be able to withstand a loss against the reigning national champions and remain in the CFP picture if they don't slip up elsewhere. On two occasions in the eight-year history of the CFP, schools have reached the playoff without having played in their conference title game. Those teams were Ohio State in 2016 and Alabama in 2017.

Dismal records

Alabama's errors began on the first play of the game when they were whistled for an illegal block in the back and forced to start the in poor field position. The miscues only picked up from there for the Tide, which entered as one of the most-penalized teams in the country and surpassed their season average for penalties in a game before halftime.

By game's end, Alabama had been whistled for a school-record 17 penalties totaling 130 yards. On Tennessee's scoring drive to tie the game at 49 late in the fourth quarter, a pair of pass interference calls on the Tide gave the Vols life.

Silver lining?

Young's return -- and his performance in that return -- should not be overlooked. After missing last week's 24-20 win over Texas A&M due to a shoulder injury suffered against Arkansas on Oct. 1, Young looked healthy against Tennessee. He was nails all game not only throwing the football but taking care of it in the pocket and evading rushers to extend plays. He also led the Tide into Vols territory late, setting up Reichard's potential go-ahead field goal that ultimately sailed wide right.

Though the loss eliminates Bama's margin for error in its bid to win the SEC West and reach the CFP, Young's play should serve as some encouragement that all is not lost for Alabama this season. The Tide can still win the division, advance to the SEC Championship Game and likely earn a playoff bid if it can claim the conference title.

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Missed field goal

Will Reichard misses from 50 yards out with 15 seconds left on the clock. Tennessee gets it back with a few timeouts and a chance to move into FG range.

October 15, 2022, 11:31 PM
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Clutch time

Alabama is methodically trying to position itself for the go-ahead score. No hurry here from the Crimson Tide, who have two timeouts remaining. Tennessee has three timeouts remaining but Alabama obviously is trying to leave the Volunteers with as little time as possible. Still some hay to make before Bama reaches field goal range.

October 15, 2022, 11:23 PM
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October 15, 2022, 11:18 PM
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Records falling

Most points ever scored in this rivalry. Most touchdowns ever for a Tennessee receiver in a game. Tied for most penalties against Alabama in school history. Lots of records falling, and we're not done yet.

October 15, 2022, 11:18 PM
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Touchdown Tennessee

Who else? Jalin Hyatt has FIVE touchdown catches today. Unbelievable game for the junior. That one has a slant catch over the middle. PAT is good. Alabama has tied a school-record with 16 penalties in this game. Bad new for the Vols is that Bryce Young gets the football back now.

October 15, 2022, 11:16 PM
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October 15, 2022, 11:15 PM
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Pass interference

Again, it's pass interference that helps Tennessee stay alive as the Volunteers get another DPI call to set up a first down at the Bama 12-yard line. Most penalties in Alabama history today.

October 15, 2022, 11:15 PM
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Pass interference

A pass interference call on Brian Branch gives Tennessee new life on an incomplete third-down throw. Volunteers trying to put something together here down 49-42 with under 6:30 remaining in the game.

October 15, 2022, 11:07 PM
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Disaster for Tennessee

Hendon Hooker and Jabari Small just botched a read-option handoff, leading to a go-ahead touchdown from Alabama with 7:49 remaining. The football hit the ground on the exchange, and Dallas Turner scooped it up and walked in for a touchdown. That could be your play of the game right there. Absolute disaster for Tennessee, which now faces its largest deficit of the game.

October 15, 2022, 11:02 PM
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October 15, 2022, 11:03 PM
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October 15, 2022, 11:01 PM
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October 15, 2022, 11:00 PM
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October 15, 2022, 10:59 PM
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Tie game

Alabama rolls the dice on fourth-and-goal, and it pays off as Bryce Young finds Cameron Latu for a short touchdown pass. It was a bit of a broken play, but Young came through again as the Tide cap a 75-yard scoring drive with 8:38 remaining. Can't say enough about Bryce Young's performance. What a game in Knoxville.

October 15, 2022, 10:56 PM
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October 15, 2022, 10:49 PM
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October 15, 2022, 10:44 PM
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October 15, 2022, 10:44 PM
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October 15, 2022, 10:44 PM
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Jaylin Hyatt...

Alabama has no answer for Jaylin Hyatt, who just housed one for a 78-yard go-ahead score. My goodness. He's got 5 catches for 194 yards and FOUR touchdowns. Two-point conversion is good to make it a 42-35 lead for the Vols and atone for the earlier missed PAT. My gosh. Just when it feels for a moment like Alabama has taken control, here we are with the Vols back ahead.

October 15, 2022, 10:42 PM
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