3 things to know before Alabama football's home debut against Texas A&M

Brett Hudson
Tide Sports
Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against Texas A&M during the first half at Kyle Field Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019 in College Station, Texas. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Alabama and Texas A&M both enter their first SEC West game of 2020 with 1-0 records, albeit Texas A&M getting its win in far more disappointing fashion than Alabama’s.

Here are three things to know about the matchup between the Crimson Tide and the Aggies.

Waddle waxes Aggies

Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, a Houston native, has enjoyed success against the Aggies of his home state. Last year, Waddle took three catches for 48 yards and a touchdown while returning four punts for 128 yards, all in a limited role; in an even more limited role as a freshman, Waddle caught three passes for 21 yards and returned two punts for 25 yards.

All told, Waddle has 222 all-purpose yards against Texas A&M, 111 per game.

Waddle is now in a much bigger role in the offense, as evidenced by his eight-catch, 134-yard and two-touchdown performance in the season opener against Missouri. The Aggies haven’t had an answer for him yet and now need one more than ever.

Fisher falters against UA

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher has faced Alabama in each of his last three seasons, his final year as Florida State’s head coach before the last two as Texas A&M’s head man. In those three meetings, Fisher’s offense averaged 5.1 yards per play; in all other games, Fisher’s team averaged 6 yards per play.

Fisher’s offense is coming off an underwhelming performance against Vanderbilt — 6.8 yards per pass attempt, three lost fumbles — and is now up against a defense it has not solved in recent meetings.

Disruptive defenses

Alabama tallied eight tackles for a loss in its season opener against Missouri; Texas A&M amassed 10 against Vanderbilt.

Both defenses have been among the most disruptive in the conference — both have been in the top four in the SEC in four of the last five seasons — and are off to strong starts in 2020. Negative plays could come early and often, and could help decide the game.

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