Alabama rushed for 438 yards against Tennessee.
Two run concepts accounted for at least 129 of those yards on just six carries in the first half alone.
On Alabama’s first touchdown drive, Lane Kiffin broke out what I'm calling the “backwards” zone read.
A normal zone read features the running back running an inside zone play with the quarterback reading the backside defensive end with the option to give the running back or pull the ball and run himself to the backside of the play.
Kiffin flipped the play around. QB Jalen Hurts is the one running the inside zone, with running back Damien Harris running the backside constraint part of the play.
The tight end is aligned on the backside of the play to block for Harris.
The unblocked read man is Vols' defensive end Corey Vereen. He slides down inside so Hurts gives to the ball to Harris. There are three one-on-one blocking matchups near the perimeter and Alabama wins them all. The result is a 12 yard gain.
On the Very next play, Alabama runs the same thing but Kiffin adds jet motion to make the linebackers think about it.. And they do. The Tide get the blocks on the outside and Harris picks up 18. They’d score two plays later.
After messing around with some passes for a couple drives and giving up a Derek Barnett strip sack, Kiffin goes back to the run.
Harris again on the backwards zone read to picks up 13.
Next play they go right back to it, but this time Rashaan Gaulden forces Harris back inside. Corey Vereen makes the stop for only a four yard pick up.
Kiffin says alright you stopped it, but I’ve got something else for you now.
Later in the drive, 'Bama lines up in the same formation the Tide used to run the backwards zone read. It looks like Tennessee is anticipating it and shifts its linebackers to the tight end side to defend against the backside outside run.
But, this time, Hurts opens up, they block inside zone for the running back and slice the tight end across the formation to lead block for Hurts. Like a "split zone" read.
Vereen slides inside, Hurts pulls the ball, receiver Ardarius Stewart blocks the safety, the tight end takes care of the corner and Hurts goes untouched for a 45-yard score.
Alabama ran the same play later in the second quarter for a 37-yard Hurts run.
Kiffin really has a knack for running the same play several times and then knowing just the right time to hit you with the counter to it for a touchdown.
But, I don't think he invented these two plays. Tom Herman and Urban Meyer ran them both at Ohio State a couple of years ago. They might have even gotten it somewhere else, but it doesn't matter. 'Bama installed it and Tennessee couldn't stop it, until it was too late.