From The Associated Press
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — No. 2 Alabama lost wide receiver Jaylen Waddle for the rest of the season on the opening kickoff.
That was about the only thing that didn’t go the Crimson Tide’s way Saturday.
Mac Jones threw for 387 yards and ran for a touchdown, and Najee Harris ran for three more TDs as Alabama routed Tennessee 48-17 for the 14th straight win in this rivalry.
The Crimson Tide (5-0) outgained Tennessee 587-302. But playing the Vols proved costly for Alabama a second straight season. A year ago, Tua Tagovailoa hurt an ankle in the second quarter and missed the next game against Arkansas.
On Saturday, Waddle rolled his right ankle as he was tackled on the opening kickoff. He was taken by cart to the locker room, and coach Nick Saban said at halftime that Waddle will be out the rest of the year and that the junior likely will need surgery.
“It’s a shame because the guy’s a great player,” Saban said. “It’s exciting for college football to see a guy playing like that. I hate it that he gets hurt on a play like that. You’re not supposed to bring the ball out when you’re that deep in the end zone, but he’s a great player, so you’ve got to let him use his judgment.”
Tennessee (2-3) forced Alabama to punt on its opening drive. That was as close as the Vols would get in losing their seventh straight in this series in Neyland Stadium.
Jones got the Tide moving on the second drive, distributing the ball to different receivers on the first four plays. Harris appeared to fumble on his first carry on the drive but was ruled down before the ball came out, which was upheld on review. Harris scored on the next play.
Jones capped the next drive with a 1-yard plunge and a 14-0 lead. Alabama led 28-10 at halftime.
Harris added TD runs of 2 and 1 yards, and the senior running back finished with 96 yards on 20 carries. He also caught six passes for 61 more yards. Brian Robinson Jr. also had a 7-yard TD run.
Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt went for the 33-yard field goal by Brent Cimaglia on fourth-and-2 early in the second. Tennessee managed one TD drive in the first half with Jarrett Guarantano hitting freshman Jalin Hyatt on a 38-yard TD. Guarantano added a 27-yard TD pass to Josh Palmer to make it 42-17 late in the third.
Alabama: Losing Waddle means the loss of a talented punt and kick returner and the player who had been leading the Tide with 557 yards receiving coming into this game. Alabama still has plenty of options as Jones completed passes to six different receivers. John Metchie III finished with seven catches for 151 yards.
Bryce Young replaced Jones for the fourth quarter and drove the Tide to a field goal.
Tennessee: The best that could be said of the Vols is that they didn’t turn the ball over through the first half after having seven turnovers in the past two games. That ended on the opening drive of the third quarter on Eric Gray’s fumble, which Malachi Moore returned 28 yards for a 35-10 Alabama lead.
Even with Ohio State finally starting its season, Alabama should easily hold onto its spot at No. 2 with this perfunctory win.
Alabama hosts Mississippi State on Saturday.
Tennessee has an open date before visiting Arkansas on Nov. 7.