Alvin Kamara

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Rough start for Nebraska as Tennessee leads at halftime of Music City Bowl

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It wasn’t always pretty for Tennessee to start the Music City Bowl but eventually the offense started to click in the second quarter and the defense put forward their best effort in months to help the Vols hold a 21-7 halftime lead over Nebraska.

Quarterback Joshua Dobbs showed off his arm (163 yards) and his legs (71 yards, two touchdowns) against the Blackshirt defense as he looks to close out his career with a postseason win. John Kelly was nearly as effective running the ball as his signal-caller and finished with 53 yards and a score on the ground while Alvin Kamara chipped in with 49 yards of total offense as well.

While there were several positives to build off offensively for the Vols, things weren’t so rosy in the half for the opposite number. Ryker Fyfe was very shaky in his first start for the team at quarterback but did throw a beautiful touchdown strike to Brandon Reilly just a few minutes before the whistle to cut into the lead and give the team some late life. One issue for the second half might be the lone running threat for the team, Terrell Newby, appears to be out with an injury.

Hopefully the play for both squads will pick up after a few adjustments in the locker room as neither side played all that sharply until the final five minutes of the second quarter. The Music City Bowl was one of the more attractive matchups of the postseason based on the caliber of programs involved, but the play has not quite matched so far for two teams who desperately want to grab a victory.

Jalen Hurd tweets lengthy explanation for mid-season transfer from Tennessee

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Ex-Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd turned some heads when his decision to leave Knoxville hit a week ago given he was (and still is) the Vols’ leading rusher. It came on the heels of Tennessee’s third consecutive loss, which was by far the worst of the trio, a 24-21 defeat at South Carolina.

On Sunday night, Hurd broke his silence and offered a lengthy and thoughtful explanation for his impending departure from Tennessee:

Tennessee was vague about why Hurd missed that critical clash against Texas A&M, so him revealing that he had a concussion clears that up. It’s interesting that he had hoped Butch Jones & Co. would tailor the Vols’ offense more to his strengths, especially with another talented running back in Alvin Kamara on the roster. Hurd only caught 10 passes for 81 yards in 2016 after 22 receptions for 190 yards in 2015 and 35 receptions for 221 yards in 2014.

Tennessee ended its three-game losing streak on Saturday with a 55-0 demolition of FCS side Tennessee Tech. The 6-3 Vols have Kentucky, Mizzou and Vanderbilt left on their 2016 schedule.

Vols RB Alvin Kamara could reportedly miss up to a month (or more) with knee injury

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And the injury hits just keep on coming for for a battered and bruised Tennessee squad.

According to 247Sports.com, Alvin Kamara has been diagnosed with a sprained lateral collateral ligament as well as a damaged meniscus in his left knee. The injuries will likely require surgery, and the running back is expected to be sidelined for 2-4 weeks if not longer”has a sprained LCL and a meniscus injury that will likely require surgery and prevent the redshirt junior from returning to the field for 2-4 weeks or longer.

At least one report indicates it’ll be much longer.

Kamara was injured in the first quarter of the loss to Alabama last weekend. Head coach Butch Jones was tight-lipped when asked about the back’s status moving forward.

Kamara is currently second on the Vols in rushing yards 313) and rushing touchdowns (three). He’s also tied for the team lead in receptions with 22.

The Vols have seen upwards of 10 starters miss at least one game this season because of injury. Included in that group are running back Jalen Hurd (undisclosed), cornerback Cam Sutton (ankle) and linebackers Jalen Reeves-Maybin (shoulder) and Darrin Kirkland Jr. (high-ankle sprain). It was confirmed Monday that Reeves-Maybin will miss the remainder of the season.

Jalen Hurts shines as No. 1 Alabama pounds No. 9 Tennessee

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Five times in six weeks, Tennessee emerged from the grave. There would not be a sixth.

No. 1 Alabama jumped on No. 9 Tennessee early and kept the Vols pinned through the entire afternoon, cruising to a 49-10 drop-kicking in Knoxville. The win pushes Alabama’s streak to 10 straight victories over Tennessee — seven of them by 14 points or more — which stands just one shy of the Tide’s record streak of 11 in a series that dates back to 1901.

True freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts, playing once again like anything but a true freshman, a punishing offensive line and a relentless defense proved to be far too much against a spirited but depleted and exhausted Tennessee squad. The Tide out-rushed Tennessee 422-27, the most single-game rushing yards by an Alabama team since 1992, the last pre-Nick Saban Tide championship squad.

Tennessee spotted Alabama its customary 14-0 first-quarter lead behind a 29-yard ArDarius Stewart end around and a 58-yard pick-six by Ronnie Harrison — the 10th non-offensive touchdown of Alabama’s season, the seventh different Tide defender to score and enough to secure a non-offensive score in nine consecutive games. The Vols briefly climbed back in the game when Derek Barnett sacked and stripped Hurts deep in his own territory, allowing two Alvin Kamara rushes over an 11-yard drive to pull Big Orange back within 14-7 at the 9:41 mark of the second quarter.

But Alabama immediately answered, moving 65 yards in six plays, mostly on the ground, the last 45 coming on a Hurts keeper down the right sideline.

Any hope of a second half revival was snuffed out when another Hurts scoring dash, this one from two yards out, pushed the lead to 28-7 six minutes into the third quarter and, on his only extended drive of the day, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones essentially conceded the game by kicking a 37-yard field goal to inch the Vols back within 28-10 at the 4:03 mark of the third quarter. Alabama again responded with an 8-play, 75-yard drive capped by Hurts’s third rushing score of the game. He finished the game hitting 16-of-26 passes for 143 yards with an interception while rushing 12 times for a game-high 132 yards and three scores. Hurts is the first Alabama signal-caller in 15 years with two 100-yard rushing games in the same season — and it’s only mid-October — and the second consecutive opposing quarterback to drop three rushing scores on Tennessee.

Alabama notched its 11th non-offensive score of the season on the opening play of the fourth quarter when Eddie Jackson raced a punt 79 yards down the left sideline to push the lead to 42-10. Bo Scarborough added the exclamation point with an 85-yard scoring dash with 11:38 to play. In all, Alabama rushed the ball 49 times for 438 yards (8.9 a pop) and five touchdowns, while its defense limited Tennessee to 32 yards on as many carries. Josh Dobbs, fresh off a game where he did anything he wanted to Texas A&M, connected on 16-of-27 passes for 92 yards with an interception while losing 31 yards in the run game to sacks. Kamara, who a week ago bested the century mark in rushing and receiving, totaled 21 rushing yards and two catches for seven yards.

Tennessee (5-2, 2-2 SEC) eases into a much-needed bye next week while Alabama (7-0, 4-0 SEC) returns to Tuscaloosa for a showdown with unbeaten and sixth-ranked Texas A&M.

Deja Vols: Alabama up comfortably over Tennessee at halftime

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The bad news: Tennessee’s found itself another hole. The good news: They’ve been there so often, the dirt should have confirmed to their orange silhouette by now.

For the fifth time in six games Tennessee finds itself in a halftime hole as No. 1 Alabama has jumped to a 21-7 edge over No. 9 Tennessee in Knoxville.

Alabama punted or lost a fumble on four of its first five possession, but the other touch — their second of the game — moved 91 yards over eight snaps, culminating in a 29-yard ArDarius Stewart rush to give the Tide a 7-0 lead with 3:29 to play in the first quarter. That advantage expanded to 14-0 just before the end of the frame when, amid possible holding on Volunteers running back Jalen HurdRonnie Harrison accepted a Josh Dobbs screen pass and returned it untouched for a 58-yard pick-six. The score was the Tide’s 10th non-offensive touchdown of the season — and Harrison the seventh different Alabama defender to notch one of those scores — and moved the club’s streak of non-offensive scores to nine straight games.

Tennessee answered with a quasi-defensive score of its own. Derek Barnett forced a fumble on a sack of Jalen Hurts deep in crimson territory, which the Vols converted into an 11-yard touchdown drive on two Alvin Kamara runs.

Alabama pushed the lead back to 14 when Hurts broke free for a 45-yard scoring dash, but another, and perhaps fatal, Tide scoring march was again halted by Barnett when he caught a deflection at the Tennessee 25-yard line with 1:24 to play before the break. The Vols could not make anything out of the turnover because Tennessee has gotten approximately nothing out of its offense today. None of the Vols’ nine possessions have traveled further than 15 yards, and six have moved less than seven yards.

Hurts has completed 8-of-16 passes for 52 yards plus the interception, but has rushed six times for a game-high 78 yards and a touchdown.

As a team, Alabama has out-rushed Tennessee 245-11, out-gained the Vols 309-41 and limited Dobbs to only 6-of-15 throws for 30 yards with a pick-six.

Alabama will receive to open the second half.