Third Saturday in October
|First meeting||November 28, 1901
Tennessee 6, Alabama 6
|Latest meeting||October 24, 2015
Alabama 19, Tennessee 14
|Next meeting||October 15, 2016|
|All-time series||Alabama leads, 52–38–7
(53–37–8 on the field)
|Largest victory||Alabama, 51–0 (1906)|
|Longest win streak||Alabama, 11 (1971–81)|
|Current win streak||Alabama, 9 (2007–present)|
The Third Saturday in October, also known as the Alabama–Tennessee football rivalry, is an American college football rivalry game played annually by the Alabama Crimson Tide football team of the University of Alabama and Tennessee Volunteers football team of the University of Tennessee, approximately 310 miles (500 km) apart. It is known as the Third Saturday in October because the game was traditionally played on it prior to the 1992 football season, when the Southeastern Conference split into its Eastern and Western divisions. From 1995 to 2015, it has only been scheduled for that date six times, though in 2016 it will be scheduled for that date. Alabama leads the series 52–38–7 (53–37–8 on the field).
The first game was played in 1901 in Birmingham, ending in a 6–6 tie. From 1902 to 1913, Alabama dominated the series, only losing once, and never allowing a touchdown by the Volunteers. Beginning in 1928, the rivalry was first played on its traditional date and began to be a challenge for the Tide as Robert Neyland began challenging Alabama for their perennial spot on top of the conference standings. It was officially given the name Third Saturday in October in 1939. Both Robert Neyland and Bear Bryant made the rivalry heated during their tenure at Tennessee and Alabama.
Between 1971 and 1981, Alabama held an eleven-game winning streak over the Volunteers and between 1986 and 1994, a nine-game unbeaten streak. However, following Alabama's streak, Tennessee responded with a seven-game winning streak from 1995 to 2001. Alabama has won the last 9 meeting as of 2015, and 6 out of the last 9 meeting have been consecutive blowouts. Alabama currently holds 52–38–7, 53–37–8 on the field in the series.
The Alabama–Tennessee game, has played in three locations. They have played in Birmingham, Alabama at Legion Field, Knoxville, Tennessee at Neyland Stadium, and also Bryant–Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. In the first four (1901–1908) meetings, both teams played in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1909 the home and home series began, though most of Alabama home game against Tennessee was Birmingham. The teams did play in Tuscaloosa a few times until 1930. The rivalry was not played in Tuscaloosa after 1930 and prior to 1999. Alabama leads the series in all three venues: for games played in Birmingham, by a record of 21–14–6 (21–13–7 on the field), for those contested in Knoxville, by a record of 23–20–1, and for games in the series played in Tuscaloosa by a record of 7–4 (8–4 on the field). Alabama won the last game, played on October 24, 2015, 19–14.
Alabama and Tennessee both have 12 shutouts in the series.
In the 1950s, Jim Goostree, the head trainer for Alabama, began another tradition as he began handing out cigars following a victory over the Volunteers. Both teams continued the tradition for some time, though kept it secret due to NCAA rules concerning extra benefits and tobacco products. Alabama publicly restarted the tradition in 2005, though as a result, self-reported an NCAA violation. Every year since 2005, the winning team knowingly violates the NCAA rule and reports the violation in honor of tradition.
1901: 1901 was the first meeting between the two teams. It ended early in a 6–6 tie, when fans rushed onto the field after a controversial offside call and the umpires were unable to clear out the crowd in the second half. In the game, J. L. Broug scored for Tennessee and A. W. Stewart scored for Alabama.
1939: In 1939, # 5 Tennessee defeated Alabama 21–0. At this time, the Alabama–Tennessee rivalry was officially designated as Third Saturday in October.
1950: Alabama had a 3–0 first quarter lead with his 20-yard field goal. Tennessee responded with a two-yard Andy Kozar touchdown run in the second quarter to give the Vols a 7–3 halftime lead. After a 43-yard Bobby Marlow touchdown run in the third gave Alabama a 9–7 lead, Kozar scored the game winning touchdown on a fourth-and-one play, from the Alabama one-yard line, with less than one minute remaining in the game for a 14–9 Tennessee victory.
1964: In 1964 David Ray gave the Crimson Tide an early 3–0 lead after he connected on a 30-yard field goal in the first quarter. Alabama then extended their lead to 16–0 at halftime with a pair of second-quarter touchdowns. The first came on a one-yard Steve Sloan run and the second after Wayne Cook blocked a Tennessee punt that Gaylon McCollough returned 22-yards for a touchdown. The Volunteers cut the Tide's lead in half to 16–8 with a seven-yard Hal Wantland touchdown run and two-point conversion in the third quarter. A 23-yard Ray field goal in the fourth quarter provided for the final 19–8 Alabama victory.
1965: In a game that saw multiple turnovers result in failed touchdown opportunities, Alabama tied Tennessee 7–7 at Legion Field. After a scoreless first quarter, both teams scored their only touchdown in the second. Stan Mitchell scored first for the Vols on a one-yard run and Steve Sloan followed for Alabama with his one-yard run. The Crimson Tide had a chance to win the game in the final minute of the game. With only 0:36 remaining in the game, Alabama had possession at the Tennessee six-yard line. However, Alabama quarterback Ken Stabler thought the Tide gained a first down on the previous play and threw the ball out-of-bounds on a fourth down play and turned the ball over on downs back to the Vols. Tennessee then ran out the clock for the tie.
1966: After Alabama victory over Clemson, Alabama regained the No. 3 position in the AP Poll prior to the game against Tennessee. At a rain-soaked Neyland Stadium, Alabama overcame a 10–0 fourth quarter deficit and defeated the Tennessee 11–10 and preserved their prefect record. Tennessee scored all of their points in the first quarter. The first points came on a six-yard Dewey Warren touchdown pass to Austin Denney and next on a 40-yard Gary Wright field goal for a 10–0 lead. Still up by 10, the Crimson Tide made their comeback in the fourth quarter. Ken Stabler scored on a one-yard touchdown run and then successfully converted the two-point conversion on a short pass to Wayne Cook that made the score 10–8. With 3:23 left in the game, Steve Davis kicked the 17-yard, game-winning field goal that made the score 11–10. The Volunteers did manage to set up a 19-yard field goal attempt that went wide in the final 0:20 of the contest. The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against Tennessee to 23–19–7.
1967: In 1967 both Alabama an Tennessee where both ranked in top ten. The game started with Walter Chadwick scored on a one-yard touchdown run for the Vols, Alabama responded with an eight-yard touchdown that tied the game 7–7 at the end of the first quarter. The score remained tied at the half after a scoreless second quarter.
Tennessee then took a 17–7 lead in the third quarter on an 11-yard Chadwick touchdown pass to Ken DeLong and a 47-yard Karl Kremser field goal. Alabama responded with their final points early in the fourth quarter on a one-yard Ed Morgan touchdown run, but a pass was later intercepted by Albert Dorsey and returned 31-yards for a touchdown and a 24–13 Vols victory. The Tennessee win was also their first over the Crimson Tide since the 1960 season.
1968: In 1968, coach Bryant decide to go for the victory instead of a tie in the final minutes of the game, and after the failed two-point conversion the Volunteers held onto a 10–9 victory at Knoxville. Tennessee took an early 7–0 lead in the first quarter after Richmond Flowers scored on a one-yard touchdown run. Alabama responded later in the quarter with a 28-yard Mike Dean field goal that made the score 7–3. The score remained the same through the fourth quarter when Karl Kremser kicked what was then a SEC record 54-yard field goal that extended the Volunteers lead to 10–3.
After the Tennessee field goal, the Crimson Tide had their most sustained drive of the game. The 80-yard drive culminated in a four-yard Donnie Sutton touchdown reception from Scott Hunter that made the score 10–9. However, instead of playing for the tie and kicking the extra point, coach Bryant elected to go for the win on a two-point conversion. On the attempt, Joe Kelley failed to complete the pass to Sutton and Tennessee won the game as a result 10–9.
1972: After a scoreless first quarter, the Crimson Tide took a 3–0 lead into halftime after Bill Davis connected on a 31-yard field goal in the second. Tennessee then took a 7–3 lead on a two-yard Condredge Holloway touchdown run in the third, and extended it to 10–3 with a 36-yard Ricky Townsend field goal in the fourth quarter.
With 2:39 left in the game, Alabama took possession at the Vols 48-yard line, and three plays later Wilbur Jackson scored on a two-yard run. On the Tennessee possession that ensued, John Mitchell recovered a Holloway fumble at the Vols' 17-yard line. On the next play, Terry Davis gave Alabama a 17–10 lead with his touchdown run with just over one minute left in the game. The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against Tennessee to 25–23–7.
1982: Bear Bryant makes his final trip to Neyland Stadium. #2 Alabama's 11-game win streak over the Vols comes to an end 35-28 as UT coach Johnny Majors is carried to mid-field in celebration to shake Bryant's hand one last time.
1989: In 1989, #10 Alabama defeated #6 Tennessee 47–30, both teams where ranked in the top ten during this match up.
1998: The Vols continue their unexpected and undefeated march to Tempe and the national championship by edging Alabama 35-18 in Knoxville. Tennessee extend their streak to four in the row against Alabama.
2003: #22 Tennessee, fighting to stay alive in the SEC East, travels to Tuscaloosa to take on the unranked Crimson Tide. The two teams end up going to an unprecedented five overtime periods before Tennessee finally breaks the ice in the fifth overtime scoring a touchdown and the mandatory two-point conversion. Alabama would fail to answer the touchdown and Tennessee escapes Tuscaloosa with the win. Tennessee has not won in Tuscaloosa since.
2005: Tennessee returns to Tuscaloosa working to salvage a disappointing 3-2 start to the season after opening the season ranked #2. Alabama comes in ranked #5 and undefeated. The game becomes a defensive clash as neither Tennessee QB Rick Clausen nor Alabama QB Brodie Croyle can find the end zone. With the score tied at 3-3 Tennessee nearly scored the game's first touchdown with 5:08 left in the game as RB Arian Foster caught a swing pass and ran for the end zone only for Alabama's Roman Harper to strip the ball away at the goal line for a turnover. Croyle drove the Tide down into field goal range where Jamie Christensen kicked the tie-breaking and game-winning field goal with 13 seconds left in the game keeping the Crimson Tide's undefeated season alive.
2009: Alabama ranked #1 at home in Tuscaloosa, AL as a 14-point favorite  and carrying a 12–3 lead late into the fourth quarter when eventual Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram fumbles for the first time in 296 carries.football Tennessee recovers the fumble and scores their first touchdown of the game 8 plays later, making the score 12–10. Tennessee then recovers the ensuing on-side kick at their own 41 yard line. The Tennessee drive stalls at the Alabama 28 yard line where Tennessee lines up for a would-be game winning field goal of 43 yards. Alabama's standout defensive lineman, Terrance Cody, blocks the low line-drive kick, his second blocked field goal attempt of the quarter, preserving the Alabama victory en route to an eventual National Championship.
2015: Tennessee, came to Tuscaloosa from a big win against other rival Georgia trying to get another upset, while Alabama was trying to keep College Football Playoff hopes alive. At half time, the game was tied 7–7. Throughout most the second half Alabama kicked two field goals giving them a 13–7 lead. With 5:49 left on the clock Jalen Hurd ran for 12 Yd Run for a 14–13 lead, hoping the defense can stop Alabama to win the game. Then Alabama finally answered back by eventual Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry 14 Yd Run, Alabama tried Two-Point Pass Conversion but Failed, giving Tennessee another chance to win without another tie. However, with 1:18 Joshua Dobbs was sacked by Ryan Anderson fumbling the football, and was recovered by Alabama to win the game.
Rankings are from the AP Poll
|Alabama victories||Tennessee victories||Ties|
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