There’s not much introduction I can do for this game that isn’t blatantly obvious. Alabama had not beaten Tennessee in seven seasons, the Tide’s longest winless streak in the series. Tennessee fans still believed in their coach, even though this season had already witnessed two losses (though one of them was the traditional early season loss to Florida, so it could be overlooked). There was no way the Vols could lose at home to an Alabama team that was also sporting two losses, including a home loss to the same Georgia team that beat the Vols the week prior in Athens. But then this happened:
Absolute dominance the entire game. The offense was merely effective (Brodie Croyle would only attempt seven passes, completing five before being replaced by Tyler Watts who only tried five himself) but the defense was almost inhumane. Casey Clausen was picked off three times and the defense recovered three more fumbles, including one returned for a TD for the first score of the game. That seven point lead was as close as Tennessee got all day. The boys in crimson only surrendered one defensive score — in the third quarter to make it a two score deficit — and the Vols would never threaten again.
The Tide went on to win the West but be ineligible to play in Atlanta that year. Even though UT would win three more games in this series between then and now, in hindsight, it’s easy to point to this game as the beginning of the end for Phil Fulmer, but more importantly, it was a reason to believe Alabama was finally turning things around from the Mike Dubose years.