3. 2016: Alabama Crimson Tide defeat Tennessee football 49-10
While the win against the Georgia Bulldogs signaled the long-awaited arrival of the Vols as a program under Butch Jones, this loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide a year later was the start of his downfall. Between that time, Jones only had two losses. One was right after the Georgia game in 2015 to that Alabama team, and the other was the week before this one to the Texas A&M Aggies.
Neither one was held against him, as UT was still in the Top 10 for this game. But after a rash of injuries in a brutal four-game stretch, Alabama was the last team that Tennessee football would have wanted to play. It got ugly fast.
Jeremy Pruitt’s defense shut down the Vols all game. Tennessee’s only offensive touchdown came after Derek Barnett set them up on the Alabama 11-yard line because of a strip-sack against Jalen Hurts. The only other legitimate drive the Vols had was in the third quarter, when they got a field goal to cut it to 28-10.
This game was an onslaught from the start, and the Alabama defense was actually the one to break it open. In the first quarter, the Vols had the ball on the Tide 37-yard line down only 7-0. But Ronnie Harrison intercepted a Joshua Dobbs pass and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown.
Jeremy Pruitt’s coaching grade: A
For the third straight game against the Vols, Jeremy Pruitt’s defense scored a touchdown. They didn’t allow anything legitimate outside of a third quarter field goal and held the Vols’ offense to 163 yards overall. It was a bloodbath. The only reason he doesn’t get an A+ here is we have to factor in the rash of injuries on the Vols this game, especially on the offensive line. Given the talent at Alabama, Pruitt should have performed this well.