COLLEGE STATION, Texas — If Texas A&M was going to start a comeback bid, it had to happen with a productive drive to end the first half.

In that crucial moment, the No. 1 University of Alabama football team gave the Aggies help in the form of penalties. A pair of 15-yard penalties helped Texas A&M get an easy field goal to end the half.

It ultimately didn’t hurt the Crimson Tide too much, as Alabama won 47-28, but UA did commit 11 penalties for 91 yards, the third time this season UA has committed 10 or more penalties and the second time penalties have cost it 90-plus yards.

“We just got to play smarter when it comes to those kinds of penalties,” UA coach Nick Saban said.

The two penalties that led to the Aggie field goal were a roughing the passer call on Anfernee Jennings, which got Texas A&M into UA territory, and the personal foul that moved the Aggies to the red zone was on Christian Barmore.

In the second half, cornerback Trevon Diggs committed a holding penalty that negated his own interception.

Three of Texas A&M’s 24 first downs were by penalty. For context, UA allowed 1.9 first downs by penalty per game last year and 1.8 the year prior.

The penalties later in the game could be more trouble in the future than they were in this game. There are three teams that entered Saturday having allowed three or fewer penalties by first down in their entire seasons to date.

Wide receiver DeVonta Smith was ejected for throwing a punch in the fourth quarter. The SEC will review the incident and determine any potential suspension for next week’s game against Tennessee.

For Saban, the late personal fouls mean more than the yardage and potential discipline down the road. The game situation is another concern of his.

“Basically, he got hit — punched — and he retaliated,” Saban said. “We’ll have to wait for the conference office to see what his status is. Obviously their player shouldn’t have punched him, but he also should’ve had the discipline not to hit back, because that’s a foul.

“We also got a penalty for pushing the pile at the end of the game, which we’re trying to take the air out of the ball so the other team can’t get the ball back. You can’t get penalties. Just didn’t finish the game like we need to finish the game; you don’t want to give good teams the ball back.”

That second unsportsmanlike conduct call was on right tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. UA also got a substitution infraction penalty earlier in the same possession.

“Obviously you can’t be emotional when you’re playing, but you have to play with emotion, and that’s one thing Coach Saban preaches all the time,” center Landon Dickerson said. “There’s some times where we just got caught up a little bit, but I think you just got to move on to the next play. If you want to get in a tussle with somebody, just do it during the play, you don’t have to throw a punch, you don’t have to do all that stuff. Just take care of it next play.”

Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or bhudson@tuscaloosanews.com or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson

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