Countdown to Kickoff



By Barry Allen
UA Media Relations

One of college football’s most colorful rivalries takes place this weekend when the Alabama Crimson Tide meets the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium in the annual “Third Saturday in October” clash between these two Southeastern Conference football titans.

The Crimson Tide and Volunteers celebrate the 90th renewal of this series this weekend in Tuscaloosa.  The two teams have met every year since 1928, with the exception of 1943 when neither school fielded a football team due to World War II.

Alabama has had a number of significant wins over Tennessee over the last 89 seasons. Over the next three days, will look at some the Crimson Tide’s memorable games with the Vols. Today, we take a look at the earlier years of this great rivalry, including 1901, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1913 and 1928.  On Thursday, the 1930, 1934, 1935, 1945, 1953 and 1961 games will be featured. On Friday, read about the games from 1966, 1972, 1973, 1986, 1990, 1993, 2002 and 2005.

Alabama 6, Tennessee 6 (Nov. 28, 1901 - Birmingham)
The game, played in Birmingham and first in the series, was tied 6-6 with darkness approaching, when an official made a controversial ruling.

Alabama-Tennessee at historic Rickwood Field. 
Fans from both sides rushed onto the playing field to voice objections. The contest was called off and 2,000 supporters engaged in fisticuffs until police restored order.  Tennessee left tackle J.L. Broug (playing off the line of scrimmage) scored the first touchdown in series history with a one-yard plunge.

Alabama 24, Tennessee 0 (Nov. 26, 1903 - Birmingham)
An undersized Alabama team posted a hard-fought 24-0 win over Tennessee on Thanksgiving Day; the Crimson Tide’s first-ever win over the Vols.  Bama built a 24-0 halftime lead on TD runs by Auxford Burks, McMahon and Peavey.  The second half was scoreless.  Tennessee drove to the Alabama two-yard line in the final minute, but did not score.

Tennessee 5, Alabama 0 (Nov. 24, 1904 - Birmingham)
Sam McAllester scored the game’s only touchdown in the first half, giving Tennessee it’s first-ever win over Alabama.  McAllester would receive the ball from center, run forward, and plant his foot on the back of one of the guards.  The Caldwell brothers, Tennessee backs, would then come forward and hurl McAllester through the air and, before he would be stopped, considerable yardage would be gained.  Through the use of such play, McAllester scored.  The Crimson Tide drives to the Vols 10-yard line in each half but failed to score.

Alabama 6, Tennessee 0 (Nov. 14, 1913 - Tuscaloosa)
During the summer of 1982, S.D. "Bull" Bayer of Eutaw, Ala., reminisced about his days as a Tennessee tackle in 1913. He chuckled when recalling a personal battle with Alabama tackle W.T. "Bully" Vandegraaf. "To this day, many people contend I bit off one of his ears," said Bayer. "What really happened is his ear had a nasty cut at the top. It was dangling from his head a bit, bleeding a lot. He got his ear caught on the leg of my pants a play or two later and he got so mad he jumped to his feet, grabbed his ear and tried to yank it from his head.   Boy, he was a tough something.  He wanted to throw away his ear so he could keep playing."

The Crimson Tide and Vols in Tuscaloosa 

Tennessee 15, Alabama 13 (October 20, 1928 - Tuscaloosa)
Tennessee and Alabama did not play between 1915 and 1927. But Major Robert R. Neyland, the Volunteers' coach who would later become a general, wanted to get Alabama back on the schedule because he thought it would give his program the opportunity to secure national stature. Alabama had defeated Washington, 20-19, in the 1926 Rose Bowl and had tied Stanford, 7-7, in the 1927 Rose Bowl. So the Crimson Tide was the darling of the nation, and Tennessee was envious of that acclaim. Gene McEver, one of Tennessee's "Flaming Sophomores," stunned fans when he returned the opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and Bobby Dodd added the extra point.  Dodd also threw a three-yard TD pass to McEver in the Vols win.  The Crimson Tide was mired all day by penalties and turnovers.  Dodd was also an effective punter, pinning Alabama deep most of the day, with one punt later resulting in a safety.  More than half of the fourth quarter was staged with headlights from cars illuminating the playing surface on Denny Field.  The 1928 game was the last game ever played at Denny Field and was one of only two losses by Alabama at Denny Field.