Tennessee and Alabama both had easy games on Saturday. Oh, wait, UT didn’t? They were tied with Akron at the half? Hmmm? They won right? Ok. Well then on to the week 4 reviews to see how bad Steve and I were this week.
Florida Atlantic at Alabama
Four weeks in and the national media is starting to say what Tide fans have been hoping is true since the Spring: TJ Yeldon is the best running back on the team and deserves consideration as one of the top backs in the league. Yeldon does nothing to disappoint in this game, rushing for 175 yards on only 12 carries. Everyone gets in on the act, with Eddie Lacy netting 90 yards on eight carries and Jalston Fowler gaining 110 on eleven carries. Even Blake Sims gets a couple quarterback draws. It’s not entertaining, but it’s over quickly in a game that runs less than three hours. The only thing that can be gleaned from this game is the progress of backup Philip Ely at quarterback, and it’s apparent that Alabama can’t afford to lose AJ just yet.
Alabama 55 – FAU 0
Again, not a lot to see here other than how many true freshmen see the field.
Alabama 49 – FAU 0
Ho hum. Another overmatched team, another large spread that still doesn’t cover how much Alabama dominated. It wasn’t a perfect performance by any stretch, but from an execution standpoint, it’s still far ahead of what anyone else has demonstrated. The Tide’s shutout streak ends at 12 quarters, but the Tide still wins easily: 40-7.
In Steve’s Defense:
Alabama was as dominant as my prediction, but the score was off. FAU managed to tack on a meaningless touchdown on a last minute drive against a defense playing seven true freshmen. I would have laughed before the season if you told me that Ole Miss would be the toughest team the Tide would face through the first five weeks. I’m also off on TJ Yeldon. He’s been great, no doubt, but Eddie Lacy has seemingly gotten stronger as the season goes on, and it’s cutting into Yeldon’s chances to distinguish himself more. Plus, the Bulldogs have a true freshmen in Gurley who is simply getting it done right now. He leads the league in rushing and is averaging more than nine yards per carry. He’ll be tested this week against … oh. Well, maybe next week.
In Mike’s Defense
Well FAU scored. I went with 49-0, Alabama won 40-7. That’s pretty close. I didn’t check the full participation, but I am know that almost all of the 2012 freshmen class has already seen the turf at Bryant-Denny, so I was close there.
Akron at Tennessee
Tennessee gets a little confidence boost for their defense when the aptly named Zips are shut out (Bit of trivia: the Zips scored a FG or less four different times last season on the way to a 1-11 season). Bray has a big game and the running backs carry the second half.
Tennessee 55 – Akron 0
Bowden ball returns to Neyland Stadium! Get your dadgum tickets! Well if you are a Volunteer fan it’ll be worth seeing. The author’s hometown makes its second trip to Neyland, and it’s about as ugly as the first
Tennessee 45 – Akron 10
For two and a half quarter Akron played good ball and kept it tight. Tennessee didn’t go up two scores until the early 4th quarter, the final score was 47-26
In Steve’s defense:
Okay, so I was way off on the shutout, and Akron gave them a game for a half. Now this may sound upside down, but I would consider this possibly a good sign for UT. They were still confident enough after the Florida loss to overlook Akron with Georgia coming up. Not saying that happened, but it’s possible, and given how they finished — pulling away for a three TD win — it makes more sense than the alternative. I’ll take 8-0 at this point in the season, even if I botched the score.
In Mike’s defense:
Call it a trap game if you want, call it Akron improving, call it Tyler Bray being sick. Call it whatever you want. The Zips and Vols were tied at halftime. Unacceptable. Granted Tennessee’s offense gave the Zips 10 free ones in the first half, so I won’t blame the defense on those 10. (Dooley says UT spotted them 17, um no. The dude went 70 yards untouched, that’s not spotting them anything, that’s bad defense). But why is Tennessee’s offense giving Akron anything other than a healthy dose of Rajion Neal, Marlin Lane, running behind a powerful Tennessee O-line? I shudder to think why this didn’t happen. I was reasonably close on the UT score. And I was close on the points the defense gave up. I have had bad feelings two Sundays in a row, I hope it’s not a third.