COLLEGE STATION, Texas — In all three of Alabama’s SEC games to date, the opponent has run more offensive plays than UA did. In all three games, it didn’t impact the win-loss result.
Texas A&M ran 70 plays to No. 1 Alabama’s 65, but the Crimson Tide still beat the Aggies 47-28.
Tweet length review of the game
Normally we see Alabama put teams away with a huge spurt of scoring, maybe 28 unanswered points or something to that effect. UA never scored more than 14 unanswered, but repeated 14 unanswered over and over again until the advantage was far too much.
Did you know?
– You know from the notebook that Tua Tagovailoa broke the school record for career touchdown passes; now he hunts the SEC record. His new career total of 81 ties him for sixth in SEC history with Eli Manning. Ninety would move him to third, passing Tim Tebow, Chris Leak and Peyton Manning. Danny Wuerffel is second with 114 and Aaron Murray is first with 121.
– On the subject of records, Jerry Jeudy passed Ozzie Newsome on career receiving yards list. Jeudy is now fifth in school history with 2,117. He is 536 yards behind Julio Jones for fourth in school history, 664 yards behind Calvin Ridley for third, 806 yards behind DJ Hall in second and 1,346 yards behind Amari Cooper’s record of 3,463 yards.
– Time of possession in the first quarter: Texas A&M 9:59, Alabama 5:01. Time of possession in the ensuing three quarters: Alabama 25:55, Texas A&M 19:05.
– This was UA’s first game without a 100-yard receiver since last year’s Iron Bowl. DeVonta Smith led the Crimson Tide with seven catches for 99 yards and a touchdown; Tagovailoa spread his 21 completions through seven receivers.
– Jaylen Waddle had more punt return yardage (128) than Texas A&M had rushing yardage (125).
– That five-sack performance from the UA defense was almost enough to get it back on its usual pace. Alabama averaged between 2.86 and 3.6 sacks per game over each of the last four seasons; this year’s defense was averaging 2 per game over the first five games. It is now up to 2.5.
– On the subject of behind-the-line production, Alabama has had exactly seven tackles for a loss in each of its last five games. The lone outlier is two in the Duke game.
What about this game will be remembered in January?
This is more of a prediction: it could be remembered as the last time a team kicks to Jaylen Waddle. Not many teams were willing to give him traditional kicks anyway, and now that the reigning Ray Guy winner can’t punt Waddle into submission, I doubt anyone else gives it a shot..
Quoting Nick Saban
– On the argument between Tagovailoa and Jeudy: “We read routes sometimes based on how people are playing and you’re counting on both guys seeing the same thing. That doesn’t always happen exactly that way. Those two guys work together well, I think we have great chemistry with all of our players on offense with our quarterback.”
– “Our plan was to make this guy (Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond) throw the ball from the pocket, that’s what we wanted to do. We didn’t want him to do last year, and he didn’t for a long time, but then he did at the end of the game.”
– “The thing you have to remember about players is, there’s nobody that wants to do well more than they do. Fans have a tough time understanding that sometimes; I never have a tough time as a coach, but sometimes coaches do.”
Quoting the Crimson Tide
– Landon Dickerson: “Individually, I think, there’s a lot of individual goals I’d like to achieve, be it run blocking or pass blocking. A big goal for me is getting the offensive line to be a unit. We want to be the best in the country, and hopefully I can keep pushing these guys and drive them to be the best.”
– Henry Ruggs III: “As returners, I feel like me and him (Jaylen Waddle) both left something out there, and he’ll probably tell you the same thing just because of getting tackled at the last level.”
– Dickerson on Evan Neal: “Evan’s doing great. He’s a smart kid, he’s athletic, he’s strong. He’s got a lot of great things going for him. Obviously young players sometimes struggle, but overall he works every week to become more consistent, work on things he has issues with.”
Quoting the opponent
– Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, according to Alex Miller of The Dallas Morning News: “They took advantage of all three phases of the game, and that’s why they’re No. 1.”
– Texas A&M wide receiver Quartney Davis on the Alabama secondary, from The Dallas Morning News: “They were a very good secondary. I wouldn’t say the most physical team, they didn’t really get their hands on us too much like a couple other teams did, but they were a really good secondary.”
One man’s very arbitrary top four players of the game, in no particular order.
– Anfernee Jennings: eight tackles, two for a loss, one sack and a pass breakup. He continues to consistently win 1-on-1 matchups, both against the run and the pass.
– Davis: Seven catches for 81 yards. Imagine what Texas A&M’s passing game would have been without him. His presence was almost certainly worth seven points, be it helping A&M get to the end zone or preventing Alabama from more opportunities at it.
– Najee Harris: 20 carries for 114 yards, three catches for 19 yards and a touchdown. He remains on pace to be a 1,000-yard rusher, assuming UA plays at least two postseason games.
– Waddle: 128 punt return yards, three catches for 48 yards. This one was particularly painful considering Texas A&M was chasing Waddle hard as a recruit.
Against the spread
UA’s 19-point win was close, but above the 17-point spread most commonly found. The game had no problem getting above the over of 61 1/2 points: the blocked punt touchdown put the game over that number, and that came before Texas A&M scored another touchdown.
A game against a Tennessee team that has a lot of things to juggle at the moment. The quarterback controversy between Jarrett Guarantano and Brian Maurer will take on new life after Maurer’s injury, as will the Volunteers as a whole after upsetting Mississippi State 20-10.
Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson