Rapid reaction: No. 1 Alabama rolls past Texas A&M
Alabama proved to be the best team in the SEC, taking down a Texas A&M team that hung in for three quarters Saturday afternoon at Tuscaloosa in a battle of the last remaining conference undefeated teams.
Here’s a closer look at the Tide’s 33-14 victory:
What it means
Alabama passed another test Saturday. The No. 1 Tide retained its top spot in the SEC West and are left as the only undefeated team in conference play. The Tide extended their winning streak to 20 games. The Aggies suffered their first loss but remain in prime position for a New Year’s Six Bowl and still can’t be completely counted out for a possible berth in the College Football Playoffs.
What I liked
Alabama: There were several things to like about this one. Another non-offensive touchdown; a relentless effort from beginning to end on both sides of the football, and offensive line play that remained physical throughout and wore down a determined Aggies defense which allowed for strong running from RB Damien Harris and operating room for QB Jalen Hurts to both run and throw effectively.
Texas A&M: Poise; at least early on. Despite a late third-quarter lapse in which Alabama took advantage, the Aggies kept their cool. Despite falling behind 13-0 early, Trevor Knight displayed leadership on offense and Keith Ford ran tough into the teeth of a solid Bama defensive line to lift the Aggies to a 14-13 lead early in the third quarter. Daeshon Hall and Myles Garrett helped keep the Aggies defense on course despite losing key DB Donovan Wilson in the first half for targeting.
What I didn’t like
Alabama: Mistakes. Missed field goals, inaccurate passes, dropped passes and uncharacteristic undisciplined off sides that gave Texas A&M a free play that resulted in a big gain that set up the Aggies’ go-ahead touchdown to start the second half.
Texas A&M: Mental errors, especially the roughing the passer penalty that gave Alabama an opportunity to regain the momentum after Texas A&M took a 14-13 lead early in the third quarter. Instead of being forced to punt on fourth down, the Tide gained a first down on the penalty and subsequently drove for the go-ahead score.
Who’s the man
Alabama: Reuben Foster led an Alabama defensive charge that help the Aggies in check. The Alabama linebacker led the Tide in tackles. Jalen Hurts played better than his stat line, accounting for three touchdowns.
Texas A&M: Keith Ford ran strong for the Aggies and kept drives alive with tough yardage against the nation’s best run defense.
Key play: Jonathan Allen scooped and scored a Texas A&M fumble, returning it 30 yards in the final minute of the third quarter to give Alabama some breathing room. The key play enabled the Tide to take a 26-14 lead into the fourth quarter.
What’s next: Alabama has a bye week leading up to its Nov. 5 game with LSU in Baton Rouge. Texas A&M goes out of conference to host New Mexico State on Saturday.