Advertise with usContact UsRTI Team

Vol Fans Will Always Cherish Nick Saban’s Final Game in Neyland Stadium

Nick Saban
Alabama HC Nick Saban. Photo by Crimson Tide Photos/ Alabama Athletics

Ask any Tennessee fan about their feelings on Alabama and you’ll likely get some sort of version of the same answer. Essentially, the reverse output of the infamous “Garbage Truck Worker Convention” video.

The news world stopped in its tracks for a moment on Wednesday evening with the report from ESPN that Alabama head coach Nick Saban is retiring. Some are already looking to Alabama’s next coach while others are looking back on the memory lane of 17 years in Tuscaloosa.

Simply put, Saban’s Crimson Tide teams dominated Tennessee. The Vols took wins in three out of the four years prior to Saban’s arrival in 2007, but that’s where the one-sided streak would start. Saban and the Tide won their first 15 games over Tennessee from 2007 to 2021 despite a pair of close games from the Vols scattered in.

Things changed in 2022, though.

On October 15, 2022, Josh Heupel’s Volunteers defeated Alabama on a game-winning field goal to snap the overall losing streak and the home losing streak.

That win by Tennessee over Alabama is now cemented as Saban’s last game in Neyland Stadium. A small victory – or, at the least, a great memory – for Tennessee fans all over.

In front of a roaring Neyland Stadium crowd, Tennessee jumped out of the gates on fire behind the hot hand of Jalin Hyatt. The Vols held a 21-7 lead after one quarter thanks to Hyatt, who hauled in two touchdowns for 36 yards and 11 yards to give Tennessee the early advantage.

No one knew what sort of legacy-defining game Hyatt would still have in store, either.

Alabama found their stride in the second quarter with 13 points compared to Tennessee’s seven, but the Vols still had the 28-20 lead heading into halftime.

Everyone in the stadium and everyone watching around the nation knew what was coming next, though. If you want to beat Alabama, you have to play a four-quarter game… Something that Tennessee really found out when trying to go back-to-back during the 2023 season.

Alabama outscored Tennessee 15-6 in the third quarter to give the Tide the 35-34 advantage going into the fourth quarter. While Alabama did put two touchdowns and a two-point conversation on the board after halftime, the Tide still couldn’t hang with Hyatt who erupted for a 60-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Hendon Hooker. Chase McGrath missed the extra point, but more on his name shortly.

More from RTI: Alabama HC Nick Saban Reportedly Retiring

Tennessee opened the quarter with a 78-yard touchdown reception from Jalin Hyatt, which turned into a two-point conversion with a quick pass from Hendon Hooker to Princeton Fant.

42-35 Tennessee, 14:01.

Alabama came back to score as Bryce Young found tight end Cameron Latu for the one-yard touchdown pass.

42-42, 8:38.

With Tennessee on offense, disaster struck. Tennessee fumbled in their own territory on a handoff exchange, which led directly to an Alabama fumble recovery touchdown from Dallas Turner. Tennessee, seemingly, had squashed their chance.

49-42 Alabama, 7:49.

Tennessee made their way back down the field, though, and Hooker found Hyatt for his fifth touchdown reception of the game, this one for 13 yards.

49-49, 3:26.

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young led the Tide down the field but hit 4th and 10 with 15 seconds left on the clock. Nick Saban turned to kicker Will Reichard for the game-winning 50-yard field goal, but it went wide right. Overtime?

Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel and the offense weren’t thinking about overtime with 15 seconds still on the clock. For a Heupel-run offense, that’s plenty of time.

Hooker connected with Ramey Keyton to get to the 50-yard line on one play and then followed that up with a 27-yard pass to Bru McCoy to put Tennessee in field goal range.

With two seconds left on the clock, Chase McGrath lined up for the 40-yard attempt. The ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage but somehow had enough on it to sneak through the uprights, just barely. The streak was broken and Tennessee had defeated Nick Saban in Neyland Stadium.

Nick Saban’s final game in Neyland Stadium.

Similar Articles


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tweet Us