The noise level at Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium in October 2022 was deafening as the Tennessee Vols upset Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide to snap a 15-game losing streak.
There’s no doubt Saban remembers, and he’s now asking Alabama fans to return the favor.
No. 17 Tennessee travels to No. 11 Alabama Saturday as the rivals square off for the 106th time.
“We talk about what a great rivalry game this is and what a big game it is, but it should be a big game for everybody. You know, everybody is on the team, all the fans, everybody. And the fans in this game should have a huge impact on this game,” Saban said Thursday on the “Hey Coach & The Nick Saban Show.”
“You can have a huge impact with the noise that you make. This team [Tennessee] is trying to go fast. They run 2.7 plays every minute in the game.
“So, you can affect that and disrupt that by making noise. And it’s going to create energy and an environment that our players will play better in, they’ll be able to sustain their intensity better in. Which is what we lost last week.”
Tennessee has not won at Bryant-Denny Stadium since 2003, losing the last nine matchups in Tuscaloosa.
“These guys make a lot of explosive plays. They go fast,” Saban added. “So, it’s going to be one of those kind of games. And everybody has to stay with it, and you got to play the next play and stay in it as fans. And you create the momentum of the game by what you do as fans. Don’t worry about the players creating it. You create it for them.
“One time. One time I’m asking you to do that.”
Unlike last year’s matchup, the defenses will get most of the attention.
Alabama and Tennessee are third and fourth, respectively, in the SEC in yards allowed per game, and both defenses are giving up less than 20 points per game.
Tennessee’s defense gets after the quarterback — 24 sacks in six games — while Alabama’s offensive line has allowed 31 sacks on the year (126th in the country).
Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton III threw for just 100 yards against Texas A&M in Week 7, while Alabama is 10th in the SEC in passing yards per game (219.4).
“It’s 11-on-11 when you’re inside the lines,” Vols head coach Josh Heupel said. “We’ve continued to work that and believe we’ll be ready for it when we hit game day.”
Tennessee and Alabama kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET
The Associated Press contributed to this report