Third down not exactly money for the Vols at Alabama

Tennessee Athletics photo / Tennessee defensive end Byron Young got this sack of Alabama's Bryce Young in the first half of last Saturday's game in Bryant-Denny Stadium, but it was mostly a long night for Volunteers defenders as the Crimson Tide converted 15 of 20 third-down opportunities in their 52-24 win.

Third down for naught.

In last Saturday night's 52-24 loss at Alabama, the Tennessee Volunteers struggled repeatedly on college football's money down. The Vols were just 2-of-13 converting third downs on offense, while Alabama shredded their defense for a 15-of-20 success clip.

Tennessee's offensive issues were evident a minute into the game, when Jabari Small was thrown for a 3-yard loss on third-and-1. The Vols failed to convert four third-and-short opportunities, which included Hendon Hooker's third-and-3 pass in the fourth quarter that was intercepted by Jalyn-Armour Davis to seal the outcome.

"During the course of the season, there have been times on third-and-short where we have been really successful," Tennessee first-year coach Josh Heupel said this week in a news conference. "Last week we weren't.