Alabama football stunned by Texas A&M for first loss since 2019

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

COLLEGE STATION, Texas —  Alabama football coach Nick Saban warned Thursday the Texas A&M matchup could be a trap game for his team. 

And yet, Alabama got snagged in the trap anyway. 

The No. 1 Crimson Tide fell to unranked Texas A&M 41-38 on Saturday at Kyle Field. Jimbo Fisher becomes the first former Saban assistant to beat him. Saban had been 24-0 against his assistants before Saturday. 

Here are our observations and takeaways: 

Aggies QB Zach Calzada thrives

Entering Saturday's game, Texas A&M quarterback Zach Calzada was last in the SEC in completion percentage (53.91%). 

That wasn't a problem for him against Alabama (5-1, 2-1 SEC0. Heading into halftime, he had completed 13 of 14 pass attempts for 183 yards and two touchdowns. His only incompletion was an interception to DeMarcco Hellams. 

Calzada replaced starter Haynes King this season after King went down with an ankle injury in the Colorado game in early September. 

Calzada threw the game-tying touchdown to make it 38-38 late in the fourth quarter, his third touchdown of the day. He finished with 285 yards passing, three touchdowns and the interception. He was not sacked. 

Defense can't hold on

Alabama's defense appeared to have fixed many of its first-half defensive woes in the second half. The Crimson Tide only gave up 10 yards in the third quarter and zero points to the Texas A&M offense. Those efforts allowed the Crimson Tide to climb back into the game. 

But the Alabama defense couldn't finish. First, it gave up a game-tying touchdown on the second to last Aggies drive. Then Texas A&M drove down the field to kick the game-winning field goal on the last drive, a 28-yard field goal from Seth Small. 

Alabama offense produces rare first-half turnovers

The Crimson Tide had a fumble and an interception in the first half against Texas A&M (4-2, 1-2), which is two more first-half turnovers than Alabama had over the first five games. 

The Crimson Tide, which trailed 24-10 at the break, entered the game plus-5 in first-half turnover margin. The Aggies managed to score a touchdown on the offensive drive after the fumble, and  the Crimson Tide held strong on defense after Bryce Young's interception. 

Pass protection a problem

Saturday's performance was far from Alabama's finest performance in keeping Bryce Young upright. 

The Aggies sacked Young three times in the first half alone. One of those came on third down in the second quarter, which forced Alabama to kick a field goal. 

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