Tennessee game was a homecoming to remember
By WVUA Digital Reporter Hunter De Siver
Five hours before kickoff, thousands of Crimson Tide fans were already swarming the University of Alabama campus, tailgating and taking in the sights and sounds of homecoming weekend.
On the quad, tailgaters are sitting on the sidewalks of University Boulevard looking down the road to see how far away the parade is.
Suddenly, four hours before kickoff, sirens began to go off near the quad. Those who were tailgating, now shifted towards the street to see the parade go by.
Starting off the parade were the people who made this whole weekend possible: the homecoming board, who sat atop classic convertible cars and waved happily at the crowd.
The cheerleaders and dixettes were next in line. They successfully got the fans excited to watch the rest of the parade with legendary Alabama cheers.
After cheering, the Million Dollar Band lived up to their name by playing the Tide’s beloved theme song, Hey Alabama. The band officially started the show as the sororities stormed through.
Every sorority that marched wore its own official colors along with costumes. Several sororities were on foot, but a few were on trucks and other vehicles that could hold dozens upon dozens of people.
Sprinkled in throughout the parade were elementary pageant girls. While walking down University Boulevard, with cheers from thousands, the kids see their future at UA unfolding.
After the law school’s truck, radio stations and the SGA went down the line, the parade ended with the sound of a fire truck siren. Fans went back to continue the party on the quad for about an hour.
Three hours before kickoff, thousands of fans made their way over to the front of Bryant-Denny Stadium.
At this spot were autograph signings from honorary captains Johnny Musso and Robin Parkhouse.
However, the main attraction was the Aflac tailgate, as three-time (two as a starter) National Champion quarterback A.J. McCarron was signing autographs. The line stretched from the elephant statue all the way to the Walk of Champions.
During the autographs, thousands upon thousands of fans split down the Walk of Champions. The Tide fanatics anxiously stood and waited with no breathing room to make sure they get the best view of when the players walked.
Two hours before kickoff, three white and blue Cline Tours buses numbered 930, 967 and 956 pulled up.
During the wait, neighboring fraternities had bands playing music but when the buses drove in, that music died.
All of a sudden, the players began to walk out of the buses as the song Thunderstruck plays through the outside stadium speakers. Fans shot their phones up in the sky, recording moments that they will never forget.
As the players walked, they looked to their right, seeing the statues of coaches who won it all. With every step, they’ll see blocks of national and SEC championships carved under their feet with rosters engraved in each of them. Once they pass the final statue of current Tide head coach Nick Saban, they enter the stadium in hopes of also having their names engraved at the Walk of Champions.
One hour before kickoff, fans began to clean up their tailgates and shift their eyes over to the steps of Gorgas Library. The Million Dollar Band performed multiple songs at this Elephant Stomp location.
After the million-dollar performance, a sea of crimson flowed towards Bryant-Denny Stadium.
As the seats began to fill, starting lineups were announced with 30 minutes until kickoff.
The state anthem, Sweet Home Alabama was sung by 100,000 with 27 minutes until kickoff.
Fans then counted to 18 on their fingers for every championship won with 23 minutes until kickoff.
To get the crowd ready, cheerleaders began the ALA-BAMA chant at 15 minutes.
With nine minutes left, the band played the national anthem.
Towards the middle of the anthem, the screens showed the flyover jets coming towards the stadium. At this time, fans were screaming so loud for the jets that the band wasn’t even heard. When the jets flew over, chills and excitement were felt around the stadium.
Four minutes until kickoff, the Tide walked out to Thunderstruck. Shakers shook to every beat of the ACDC drums.
The game kicked off a little after 6 p.m.
Running back Brian Robinson Jr. opened up the scoring with an eight-yard touchdown run to put Alabama up 7-0 with 8:05 left in the first quarter. The drive started after a big third-down stop by the Tide, which sent the crowd in a frenzy.
Tennessee would come right back with a touchdown of their own after quarterback Herndon Hooker found receiver Velus Jones Jr. for a score to tie the game at seven.
Tennessee would later take a 14-7 lead, but the Tide stormed back to go up 21-14 at halftime. Quarterback Bryce Young had a five-yard rushing touchdown and a six-yard passing touchdown to receiver John Metchie III.
After trading field goals in the third quarter, the fourth-ranked team in the country found themselves only up 24-17 going into the fourth quarter.
The Tide proved why they are playoff contenders in the fourth quarter as they scored four touchdowns to Tennessee’s one. Brian Robinson also had two more rushing touchdowns.
After Robinson’s second touchdown (third overall) of the quarter, the LED lights began to flicker as Dixieland Delight began to play in the stadium. This song is simply the embodiment of Alabama football.
Young had a six-yard rushing touchdown and connected with Metchie again from 19 yards out for the final score of the game to make it 52-24.
Metchie’s second touchdown was set up by an interception by cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis. After the pick, fans all around the stadium began smoking cigars.
This is a tradition that started all the way back in 1961 and is done every time the Crimson Tide beat the Volunteers.
This tradition was a great way to finish a homecoming to remember.