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Quarterback Jalen Hurts leads Alabama’s run game to statement win over Tennessee

Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts (No. 2) racing through Tennessee's defense for a 45-yard TD: Cedric Mason - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

TUSCALOOSA— His athleticism creates so many opportunities for Alabama, especially in the red zone.

Despite much of its team in the infirmary, Tennessee fans expected a competitive game against the Crimson Tide at Neyland Stadium. A rude awakening occurred in the first half, when offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin decided to go more into design quarterback runs. With Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Danny O’Brien and Darrin Kirkland all out, Tide’s signal-caller Jalen Hurts shredded the Volunteers’ defense. While five of his 12 carries resulted in runs of 10 yards or more, he finished with a game-high 132 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

His first two scores came in the second quarter, including a 45-yard sprint to the checkered board along the right side of the field. It was a moment of redemption for Hurts, after a mistake on Alabama’s previous possession (lost fumble) that led to Tennessee touchdown from running back Alvin Kamara.

Skilled footwork has delivered Hurts to eight rushing scores on the year, and his first trifecta when it comes touchdowns in a single game on the ground. His confidence ignited a fire under Bo Scarbrough, who recorded his first 100-yard outing. Behind Hurts, the Tide rushed for 438 yards and five scores on 49 attempts. It’s the second-most rushing yards Tennessee has given up against Alabama since 1986 (457, Tide won 56-28).

He still has much to learn in the passing game, however, Hurts did push his streak of consecutive games in which he’s posted a completion mark of 60 percent to six. The Texas native hit on 16 of 26 passes for 143 yards with an interception. He’s collected 1,813 total yards and 17 touchdowns to seven turnovers through six games. Hurts and the Tide will welcome No. 6-ranked Texas A&M to Tuscaloosa on Saturday, Oct. 22.

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama MagazineYou can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

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