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An injury update on Alabama standout defensive back Malachi Moore heading into matchup against Tennessee

Matt Zenitzby:Matt Zenitz10/20/23


No. 11 Alabama will probably have a key member of its defense back for its game against No. 17 Tennessee on Saturday.

Standout defensive back Malachi Moore, who didn’t play last week versus Arkansas due to an ankle injury, will be a game-time decision but the current belief is that he’s likely going to be able to play, sources tell On3.

A final decision will be made after pre-game warmups. Moore, who sustained the injury during the Crimson Tide’s win over Texas A&M Oct. 7, has taken part in practice throughout the week for Alabama.

Before getting hurt against A&M, Moore had posted 27 tackles, four tackles for loss and an interception in Alabama’s first five games, including six tackles and two tackles for loss during the Tide’s 40-17 victory over Mississippi State Sept. 30.

Moore, who has recorded 121 career tackles and five career interceptions for Alabama, was selected by the Tide staff as one of the team’s defensive players of the week following Alabama’s loss to Texas and its win over USF.

Aided by Moore, the Tide is tied for 12th-best nationally in scoring defense. Aside from the 34-24 loss to Texas, Alabama hasn’t allowed more than 20 points in any other game. Led by the defense, the Tide has won five straight games since that loss to Texas and enters the matchup against Tennessee as a nine-point favorite.

The Vols are 5-1 but have been up-and-down offensively after ranking No. 1 nationally in scoring last year and No. 7 in 2021 with Hendon Hooker as their quarterback. Tennessee has been limited to 20 points or fewer in two of its first three games against SEC opponents, including during a 29-16 loss to rival Florida Sept. 16.

In those first three SEC games, new Vols starting QB Joe Milton has accumulated totals of four touchdown passes and four interceptions. During Tennessee’s 20-13 win over Texas A&M last week, Milton was 11 of 22 for 100 yards with one touchdown pass and one interception.

“I don’t see Joe being a whole lot different than what we’ve played against in the past, when Hooker was there,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said this week. “Guy can throw the ball. He’s accurate. He’s got a strong arm. They can make plays down the field. And they take a lot of vertical shots. So he’s certainly capable of making those plays. But he’s also athletic enough to extend plays in the pocket and run if necessary.”