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FRIDAY FLASHBACK: The Third Saturday in October, Part III



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. has taken a look at some the Crimson Tide’s memorable games against the Volunteers over the past three days.  Today, Alabama’s 6-3 win over Tennessee in 2005 is highlighted along with great wins from 1966, 1972, 1973, 1986, 1990 and 2002.

Alabama 6, Tennessee 3 (October 22, 2005 ?? Tuscaloosa)
Jamie Christensen’s 34-yard field goal with 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter lifted Alabama to a 6-3 win over Tennessee in front of 81,018 fans at Bryant-Denny Stadium, as the Crimson Tide snapped a five-game home losing streak to the Volunteers.

Alabama moved 63 yards in 10 plays for the winning score. Senior quarterback Brodie Croyle completed a 43-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver DJ Hall on a third-and-eight from the Tide 22-yard line to give UA the first down at the UT 35-yard line. Alabama moved the ball to the Tennessee 17 on six straight running plays before Christensen’s second game-winning field goal in as many weeks.

Senior Roman Harper, now with the New Orleans Saints, forced a Cory Anderson fumble in the Tide end zone to set up the winning score. The Vols had first-and-goal at the Tide 3-yard line before two penalties pushed them back to the UA 15.
Rick Clausen completed a third-down pass to Anderson, who lost the ball when Harper hit him near the goal-line. The ball went into and out of the end zone and Alabama was awarded the ball following the touchback.

After a scoreless first half, the two teams traded second half field goals. Christensen gave Alabama a 3-0 lead on the final play of the third quarter with a 33-yard kick. Tennessee tied the game with 11:52 left in the game on James Wilhoit’s 32-yard kick.

Alabama finished the game with 257 yards of total offense, while Tennessee had 253 yards. Croyle complete 17 of 27 passes for 190 yards with no interceptions, while Claussen completed 11 of 19 passes for 144 yards and one interception.

Kenneth Darby led all rushers with 23 carries for 86 yards. UT’s Gerald Riggs had 18 carries for 68 yards in the loss. DJ Hall led all receivers with 10 catches for 139 yards, inclduing a 43-yard grab on the Tide’s winning drive.

Alabama 11, Tennessee 10 (October 15, 1966 ?? Knoxville)
Senior quarterback Kenny Stabler led Alabama to one of its greatest comebacks with an improbable 11-10 win in Knoxville.  The Volunteers led 10-0 in the fourth quarter only to see the Crimson Tide rally for a field goal, touchdown and eventual game-winning two-point conversion for the comeback win.

Alabama 17, Tennessee 10 (October 21, 1972 - Knoxville)
Tennessee dominated the game in Knoxville and led 10-3 with less than three minutes remaining. Many fans had left Neyland Stadium. But Alabama drove 48 yards for a touchdown in three plays and kicked the extra point to tie. Big Orange
supporters booed the decision. After the ensuing kickoff, on third down, Mike DuBose, then a Crimson Tide defensive end, hit quarterback Condredge Holloway and forced a fumble. John Mitchell recovered the ball at the Volunteers' 21. On the first play, quarterback Terry Davis ran around the right end for a touchdown. The extra point provided Alabama with its 14th point in a span of 36 seconds.

Alabama 42, Tennessee 21 (October 20, 1973 - Birmingham)
Alabama scored on the first play from scrimmage as Gary Rutledge fired an 80-yard TD pass to Wayne Wheeler setting the stage for the Tide’s three touchdown win.

Alabama 56, Tennessee 28 (October 18, 1986 - Knoxville)
The Crimson Tide broke a four-game losing streak to the Volunteers with a 56-28 win in Knoxville.  Bobby Humphrey ran for 217 yards in the win as Alabama built a 42-14 halftime lead.  Alabama quarterback Mike Shula earned his first win over the Vols as the Tide’s starter.

Alabama 9, Tennessee 6 (October 20, 1990 - Knoxville)
The Crimson Tide was an 11-point underdog when it faced Tennessee in Knoxville. The Volunteers attempted a field goal in the final minute in an effort to break a 6-6 tie. Defensive halfback Stacy Harrison blocked the kick and the football rolled deep into Big Orange territory. On the final play, Philip Doyle kicked a 47-yard field goal.

Alabama 34, Tennessee 14 (October 26, 2002 - Knoxville)
Alabama snapped its longest losing streak in series history with a sound 34-14 win over Tennessee.  The UA defense forced six turnovers in the win, including three fumbles and three interceptions (C. Jones, Childress and Peprah).  Santonio Beard ran 16 times for 65 yards and scored two TDs as UA beat UT for the first time since 1994.