KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Arian Foster dove into the end zone with 3:28 left, completing a rally that gave No. 7 Tennessee a 16-13 victory over Alabama on Saturday.
The Crimson Tide (5-3, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) nearly kept the Volunteers out of the end zone for the first time this season. The Third Saturday in October, a border-state rivalry dating to 1901, has become a defensive struggle the last two years.
The Tide went ahead 13-6 at the end of the third quarter on Tim Castille's 2-yard run, which was the first touchdown scored in this series in two years.
But Alabama couldn't score again.
Alabama frustrated the normally high-scoring Vols (6-1, 2-1) for the most part, but Tennessee scored 10 points in the fourth quarter for the victory and stayed alive in its chase of Florida for the SEC East division title.
James Wilhoit kicked a 27-yard field goal with 8:18 remaining after Tennessee stalled at the Alabama 10 to cut the lead to 13-9.
The Tide had to punt after getting only one first down on its next possession, and Tennessee got the ball back at its 30.
Aided by a pass interference call, the Vols drove into scoring position and it appeared they might have take the lead when Bret Smith made a catch near the goal line but landed outside the end zone. There was no TD signaled, though the officials reviewed the play to see if the ball broke the plane. After looking at a replay, they spotted the ball at the 1 for a 5-yard gain.
Foster leaped over the pile on the next play for the touchdown.
The Tide had to punt on its next possession, but got the ball back at its own 13 with 1:19 left. John Parker Wilson was sacked twice, however, and time ran out.
Alabama won 6-3 last year, and this game looked headed for a similar result until the fourth quarter.
Tennessee came into the game with the best offense in the SEC, averaging 421.5 yards a game and 35.2 points a game. The Vols had a week off after their 51-33 win at Georgia, but the Tide frustrated Tennessee and quarterback Erik Ainge nearly the entire game.
Ainge finished 28-of-46 for 302 yards and had three passes intercepted, two by Simeon Castille. The Vols had only 57 yards on the ground.
Ainge had a tackle in the first half that kept Alabama from running away with the game early.
Simeon Castille got his second interception of the game and returned it 60 yards to the Tennessee 8 with Ainge forcing him out of bounds to prevent the touchdown. Alabama got it down to the 1, but had to settle for Jamie Christensen's 18-yard field goal. He also had a 24-yarder earlier.
Wilhoit had field goals of 27 and 47 for the Vols.
Wilson was 13-of-29 for 158 yards, and the Tide was held to 53 yards rushing.
Tim Castille's TD was the first touchdown scored in the series since the second half of the game in 2004, which Tennessee won 17-13 in Knoxville. Castille scored on a 2-yard run in the first quarter of that game, the Tide's previous TD against the Vols.