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Alabama football vs. Tennessee: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score

Volunteers battle Crimson Tide

Tua Tagovailoa #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs the offense against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. CoxGetty Images)
Tua Tagovailoa #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs the offense against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. CoxGetty Images)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is expected to be on the playing surface when top-ranked Alabama visits Tennessee on Saturday in SEC play. Tagovailoa has been practicing despite aggravating a sprained right knee injury and Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said he expects his star signal-caller to start against the Volunteers.

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Alabama -28.5

 

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Tagovailoa departed after reinjuring his knee in third quarter of last weekend's 39-10 win over Missouri but professed he is recovering nicely. "It looked bad on the field," Tagovailoa said during an interview with ESPN. "I just retweaked it, but we got some treatment after the game, so I'm much better." Tennessee is coming off its best performance of the season as it ended an 11-game SEC losing streak by stunning Auburn 30-24 last Saturday, but first-year coach Jeremy Pruitt is well aware his team's biggest challenge awaits. "When you talk about Alabama, first of all you talk about the rivalry," Pruitt, a former Crimson Tide assistant, said during a press conference. "This game means a whole lot to a whole lot of people. It's a very important game, not only because it's the next one, but because of the tradition that comes with this game. I think we've got to do our part to create this rivalry again. It's not been much of a rivalry the past few years."

ABOUT ALABAMA (7-0, 4-0 SEC)

Tagovailoa has yet to be intercepted this season while throwing for 1,760 yards and 21 touchdown passes but will likely be without one of his top targets in DeVonta Smith (hamstring). Fellow sophomore wideout Jerry Jeudy is enjoying a huge season with 26 receptions for 705 yards and nine touchdowns for an offense that has set a school record by topping 500 yards in all seven games. Junior cornerback Saivion Smith has recorded three of the team's 12 interceptions, while senior defensive end Isaiah Buggs has a team-leading 7.5 sacks.

ABOUT TENNESSEE (3-3, 1-2)

Sophomore quarterback Jarrett Guarantano passed for a career-best 328 yards in the upset of Auburn and has thrown for 1,129 yards and six touchdowns against two interceptions. The defense was dealt a blow when fifth-year senior linebacker Jonathan Kongbo tore the ACL in his right knee last Saturday, ending his season. "I hate it for Kongbo. He's moved around since we have been here and he's worked really hard," Pruitt said. "He's been a guy that's tried to do everything we've asked him to do. ... It's unfortunate."

EXTRA POINTS

1. Alabama has won the past 11 consecutive meetings.

2. Volunteers freshman CB Alontae Taylor returned a fumble for a touchdown against Auburn, the team's first since Oct. 1, 2016 against Georgia.

3. Crimson Tide junior DE Raekwon Davis faces diminished playing time according to Saban after he punched Missouri G Kevin Pendleton three times at the end of a play in last Saturday's game.

PREDICTION: Alabama 55, Tennessee 12

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