TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- It was all about defense in the first half as Alabama and Tennessee are tied at six.
Stat of the half: Outside of the fact that we have 12 combined points after two quarters, Alabama has netted just 35 rushing yards at the half. Trent Richardson has carried the ball 10 times for 37 yards and hasn't even sniffed the end zone. Alabama's offense as a whole hasn't done much with Tennessee's defense doing its best Alabama impression. The Vols are loading the box each time out to take Richardson out of the game, and it worked perfectly in the first half.
Best player in the half: He might not have a helmet and pads on, but Tennessee coach Derek Dooley has done quite the coaching job so far. He has actually out-coached mentor Nick Saban. The fake punt was brilliant and the decision to make AJ McCarron beat the Vols by taking Richardson out is working. He is also keeping things simple on offense. Everything has been directed up the middle and he isn't wasting time with trying to get the big play each time out. We knew those creamsicle pants would pay off one day.
Best call: Dooley went for it on fourth down twice before, so we shouldn't have been surprised by the fake punt he called in the second quarter. But we were and so was Alabama. Michael Palardy sold it perfectly and easily hit Anthony Anderson near the right side line. A face mask penalty on the play put the ball at Alabama's 33-yard line and Palardy then nailed a career-long 52-yarder to tie the game at 6.