A look of resignation was etched on Jeremy Pruitt’s face.
The Tennessee coach knew what he was up against Saturday, and then he watched the carnage unfold.
Alabama ripped and shredded his defense with the ferocity of a velociraptor, scoring four touchdowns in the first 13 minutes of a 58-21 victory at Neyland Stadium.
“Going into it,” Pruitt said, “we knew that we would have to play a perfect game to have a chance to beat them.”
Even that would have likely not been good enough against this edition of the Crimson Tide. Through eight games, Alabama looks as dominant as ever.
The Tide leads the nation in total offense and scoring while being buttressed by a defense conceding only 16.3 points per game — an average that still ranks among the 15 best.
After getting whipped Saturday, Tennessee defensive end Kyle Phillips seemed in awe.
“They’re a great team,” he said. “I have to give them their props. They are great offensively, defensively and special teams. They play hard. They execute very well. They’re a tough to team to beat. They’re a tough team to beat, for sure.”
All of the anecdotal evidence compiled this season supports that statement. But so too does this amazing statistic, born out of hard data: Alabama has held a lead of ten or more points during 82.6 percent of the plays in their games, according to the advanced metrics website, SportSource Analytics.
That leads the country by a long shot. UCF, which has maintained a double-digit advantage on 63.6 percent of its total snaps, is ranked second.
“They are a great team,” Tennessee defensive back Nigel Warrior said of Alabama. “They come to play every day. You’ve got to come to play when you play them.”
Otherwise, it can get pretty ugly rather quickly, as every team that has faced Alabama has discovered.
So far this season, the Tide is annihilating its opponents at an accelerated rate, leading by an average of 31.5 points after the first half.
If there is any solace for Tennessee, it was the fact the Volunteers weren’t the only SEC team to endure complete devastation. Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Arkansas and Missouri each stared into the abyss by the time they rolled into the locker room at the midway point of their losses to Alabama.
But in this conference, where the Tide reigns supreme, misery doesn’t love company.
Pruitt wanted to suffer alone and absorb this beatdown on his own terms.
“If you just look at the whole deal,” he said, “they lined up and whipped us between the whistles the whole time.”
This is what Alabama does. And the Tide is doing it in the most ruthless way possible every week. The numbers and visuals prove as much.
Rainer Sabin is an Alabama beat writer for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @RainerSabin