TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — When the going got tough for No. 8 Alabama against Tennessee on Saturday afternoon, Crimson Tide tailback Derrick Henry got going.
Henry rushed 10 times for 57 yards in the fourth quarter, including a 14-yard touchdown with 2:24 remaining that capped the scoring in the Tide's 19-14 win. The 6-foot-3, 242-pound junior finished with 28 carries for 143 yards.
"I'm a leader on this team, and my mentality was that we've got to score and get this win," Henry said. "Tennessee is a great team and a great opponent, and it's a big rivalry. When we got down, we knew we had to stay focused and get that touchdown like we did."
Henry's 143-yard performance gives him 1,044 yards through eight games. He is Alabama's seventh 1,000-yard rusher in the last eight years, having just missed out last season with 990.
"It's the same ol' Derrick Henry," Tide quarterback Jake Coker said. "He doesn't change much."
Said coach Nick Saban: "Derrick Henry had another really good day."
Henry's 20-yard touchdown run in the first quarter gave him 13 consecutive games with a score, which is a program record and the longest active streak nationally.
Alabama had seven penalties for 64 yards against the Volunteers, with Crimson Tide offensive linemen guilty of a false start, holding and a chop block.
"Sometimes it was just a lack of communication," senior center Ryan Kelly said. "We hadn't really worked on the play too much when (left tackle) Cam (Robinson) got the chop block. You just have to keep moving forward and learn from them."
No need to pour
With 1:18 remaining in the game, Alabama linebacker Ryan Anderson stripped Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs, causing a fumble that defensive end A'Shawn Robinson snagged and returned 9 yards to the 4-yard line of the Vols.
The Crimson Tide led 19-14, and some of their supporters wanted more. Saban was having none of that as Alabama took three plays out of the victory formation.
"I'm sure we had a lot of fans out there who wondered why we didn't try to score more," Saban said. "The only way we could lose the game there was to fumble the ball. That's the only way. Sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do to win the game."
Alabama junior strong safety Eddie Jackson had to leave the game less than two minutes in due to a knee sprain but eventually returned. His backup, freshman Ronnie Harrison, left in the final minute of the first half and did not play again.
Senior right tackle Dominick Jackson was helped to the locker room after Henry's winning score, but Saban didn't believe any of the injuries were too serious.
"Ronnie Harrison and Dominick Jackson both have ankle sprains," Saban said. "The severity of those things are hard to determine. Maybe in a week or so, they'll both be able to go a little bit, but you always have to wait and see how they respond.
Alabama has defeated 58 consecutive unranked foes dating back to a loss in the 2007 Iron Bowl. Junior linebacker Reuben Foster had a career-high 11 tackles. The Crimson Tide have scored in the first half of 111 straight games dating back to their 2007 game against Florida State, which is the longest streak nationally. Junior tight end O.J. Howard had a career-high seven catches. Alabama improved to 4-3 under Saban in games that are tied at halftime.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.