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No. 6 Tennessee (6-0, 3-0 SEC) knocked off No. 3 Alabama (6-1, 3-1 SEC) in thrilling and historic fashion on Saturday afternoon inside of Neyland Stadium. In this week’s installment of The 2-4-7, we take a look at the two defining plays, our four biggest takeaways, and the seven stats that tell the story of the Vols snapping their 15-game losing streak to the Crimson Tide.
The Tennessee kicker missed a key extra point early in the third quarter and instead of UT leading by seven, it led 34-28. After a Jahmyr Gibbs touchdown with 4:27 to go in the third that gave the Tide the lead, the Vols spent the remainder of the game trying to keep up with Alabama.
That is until the clock hit zero. McGrath, who had missed just the second extra point of his career in 217 attempts earlier, redeemed himself. Just like Wilhoit did against Florida in 2004.
After Alabama missed a 50-yard field goal to give Tennessee the football on its own 32-yard line with 15 seconds remaining, Hendon Hooker immediately found Ramel Keyton for a gain of 15 to get to the 50. Hooker then hit McCoy for 27-yards to get the ball to the Alabama 23 with two seconds left on the clock.
The stage was set for McGrath. He took advantage by making the 40-yard attempt. It might not have been the cleanest kick of McGrath’s career, and it may have inflicted the fear that has plagued Vol fans since 2008, but it got the job done. For that, the California native will forever be remembered.
There were several plays in the 2022 edition of The Third Saturday in October that we could sit around and talk about all day long, and how they impacted the outcome of the game. The one that sticks out above the rest, after you talk about the two field goal attempts in the final minute, is Alabama’s debacle on Tennessee’s only punt of the game.
Alabama couldn’t stop the Vols offense in the first quarter. Tennessee had three possessions and scored a touchdown on each of them. It wasn’t until UT’s first possession of the second quarter that Alabama’s defense finally forced a punt. Yet the Tide immediately gave the football right back.
On Paxton Brooks’ punt 31-yard punt, Alabama punt returner Jahmyr Gibbs elected to not field the football and it nearly touched him in the process. Neyland Stadium erupted as it appeared the football touched Gibbs and it appeared to trigger Alabama linebacker Quandarrius Robinson to go over and attempt to recover the football. When Robinson did, Tennessee smothered him, forcing a fumble that fell into the hands of Christian Charles.
The Vols promptly scored three plays later to take a 28-10 lead with 11:41 to go in the second quarter.
After the Vols beat Pittsburgh the second week of the season, Jalin Hyatt said he didn’t feel like he had done anything yet despite having success in the first two games. Well, just over a month later, Hyatt has left his mark on Tennessee football.
Hyatt exploded for five receiving touchdowns, breaking the all-time single-game program record and tying the SEC single-game record, which was last done by Alabama’s DeVonta Smith against Ole Miss in 2019.
The junior receiver finished the day with six catches for 207 yards. It marked the 10th 200-yard receiving game in program history and is the sixth-most receiving yards in a single-game. Hyatt became the first wide receiver to post three-plus touchdowns and 100-plus yards against Alabama since Nick Saban was hired in 2007.