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October 21, 2012KNOXVILLE, Tenn. | There was a time when a ticket broker with four for the Third Saturday in October didn't have a better payday in Knoxville all season.
The Alabama-Tennessee rivalry, when competitive, stirs secondary-market ticket prices of double face value and more in the open game-day market. It's supposed to be a seller's paradise, where hundreds circle Neyland Stadium with two or four fingers in the air, and those holding tickets have takers beckoning to do business at every corner.
Not so Saturday night.
For the 94th installment of this storied series, tickets couldn't have come much cheaper.
"Whatever you can get, you get," said one scalper outside the stadium, declining to say exactly how low he was willing to sell his four in the upper decks. "And you don't want to wait too long, either. You wait too long, you end up pretty much giving them away."
The announced attendance was 102,455. There weren't a lot of empty seats, but anyone who wanted one had no trouble getting one.
The previous two times Alabama visited Orange Nation - former UT coach Phil Fulmer's last year in 2008, and Derek Dooley's first in 2010 - the home fans all but emptied Neyland Stadium in the fourth quarter as Alabama put finishing touches on blowouts of 29-9 and 41-10, respectively.
Much the same happened against Saturday in the fourth quarter as UT fans began filing out early.
Signs of a slow pre-game exchange were clear enough.
Online market prices at stubonline.com showed slashed bargains as low as $60 per ticket in the hours before kickoff. They were even cheaper than that at Bubbasgottickets.com.
As late as Friday, the official twitter feed of UT football, @Vol_Football, was touting ticket availability with a link for late-committing fans. Meanwhile, Twitter user @MitchellT21 tweeted: "2 Tennessee vs. Alabama tickets for 30 dollars a piece in Section QQ".
Sal on son
UT defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri had an emotional night coaching with his son, Vinnie, on the opposite sideline and playing safety for the Crimson Tide. The coach said both he and his son handled the situation "like a pro" during the week, however, and only regretted that his own defense didn't play better.
"I'm just happy my son's part of it (at Alabama)," Sal Sunseri said. "The bottom line is, we competed, we didn't do as well as we'd like, gave up too many explosive (plays) and it cost us. I'm going to let this thing go and go see my son."
Dooley on sideline
Earlier in the week, Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said he hoped his recovery from a fractured hip would allow him to coach from the sideline rather than the press box, as he did a week ago, but that he would ultimately defer to the advice of doctors.
Apparently, Dooley's wishes won out.
Dooley was on crutches on the Vols sideline Saturday.
UA defensive end LaMichael Fanning did not dress for the game and presumably did not travel with the team. UA coach Nick Saban did not mention after the game whether Fanning was suspended for the game, but said earlier in the week that Fanning would be "internally managed" after he drew a personal foul for a controversial tackle last week.
"We got whipped by a great football team in just about every phase. I'm really disappointed that we didn't execute a little better on offense. That's probably the thing I was a little surprised at. The quarterback didn't play well. Not sure why. It's a great defense." - UT coach Derek Dooley
AJ McCarron's 306 passing yards were a career-high, while Amari Cooper set a UA freshman record with 162 receiving yards. ... McCarron extended his school-record total of consecutive passes without an interception to 239. ... Tennessee's early field goal was the first score by a UA opponent in the first quarter this season. Alabama has outscored opponents 90-3 in the opening quarter this season. ... For the first time this season, reserve quarterback Blake Sims saw first-half action Saturday. Sims took a direct snap for a 2-yard rush in the first quarter on Alabama's first scoring drive. Sims also took a direct snap on Alabama's final drive of the half. ... UT used linebacker A.J. Johnson as a short-yardage quarterback at times Saturday, with good early results. Johnson converted an early first down and scored the Vols' second-quarter touchdown as well. He was stopped on a key fourth down by linebacker Nico Johnson, however, in the second half. ... Former UA defensive end Darrington Sentimore, who transferred to Tennessee after a year in junior college, made a 10-yard sack of McCarron in the second half. ... UA linebacker C.J. Mosley led the team in tackles with seven.
Reach Chase Goodbread at email@example.com or at 205-722-0196.