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Alabama Grinds Out 6-3 Win

October 23, 2005|From Associated Press

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — With a kick, a fumble, a catch and a relentless defense, No. 5 Alabama beat 17th-ranked Tennessee, 6-3, on Saturday, keeping its perfect season intact in stirring fashion.

"What a way to win the game," Crimson Tide Coach Mike Shula said. "Our guys hung in there for the whole game. Whenever it looked like things were going against us and nothing was going to go our way, our guys stepped up and made some plays."

The final one was Jamie Christensen's 34-yard field goal with 13 seconds left for his second straight game-winner. Two other huge plays late made it possible.

Tennessee (3-3, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) had appeared poised to take the lead when it had first and goal at the Alabama three. Mistakes pushed the ball back to the 15 by third down, and a final one turned the game around.

Cory Anderson caught a swing pass and headed toward the end zone. Alabama's Roman Harper jarred the ball loose near the goal line and it bounced out of the end zone with 5:08 left, giving the Tide (7-0, 5-0) the ball and stopping Tennessee's hopes of breaking the tie.

It was the first time Tennessee had failed to score a touchdown since a 30-3 Peach Bowl loss to Maryland on Dec. 31, 2002.

After Alabama took over, Brodie Croyle teamed with D.J. Hall for a 43-yard gain down the left sideline on third and eight to keep the game-winning drive going, one of the few big plays supplied by either offense.

Anderson's fumble was only the last of an array of costly mistakes for the Vols.

They lost three fumbles, including a second by Gerald Riggs on their only other trip inside the 10.

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