A&M braces for Bama brawl
Published: Friday, November 9, 2012
Updated: Friday, November 9, 2012 03:11
The No. 15 A&M football team travels to Tuscaloosa, Ala., Saturday to knock heads with the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide for the Aggies’ toughest challenge to date. Alabama rolls into the Top 15 contest on a 13-game win streak but remains wary of a rising SEC power in Texas A&M.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban said this A&M team shouldn’t be overlooked despite the Crimson Tide winning an emotionally and physically draining game against LSU on the road.
"We've got to forget about this last game," Saban said at a Monday press conference. "We've got to move on. I told the players that right after the game. I think they have a lot of respect for this team. It'd be pretty difficult not to respect this team based on their body of work and what they've accomplished this season."
The Aggies have attained national relevance this year with a 7-2 (4-2) record and freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel breaking team and SEC records. Manziel leads the SEC in rushing yards (922), scoring (90 points) and total offense (3,449). Junior defensive end Damontre Moore leads the SEC in sacks with 11.5.
Sumlin said this game is exactly what they expected since the beginning of the season but noted the Aggies’ crescendo in momentum after winning two pivotal SEC road contests.
“We’ve played a lot of places,” Sumlin said. “This game has been on the schedule for weeks. We’re not going to change our approach this week in any way. I’ll be more excited Saturday than I am now. For us [this game] couldn’t come at a better time.”
The Aggies are riding a five-game road winning streak and face the toughest competition in the nation for the first time since the 2003-2004 season when A&M faced Oklahoma in Norman, Okla.
The Texas A&M defense is ranked 46th nationally while Alabama’s offense is ranked 48th. Moore said there is no reason to overlook the Heisman-hopeful quarterback in A.J. McCarron.
“Their quarterback is up for the Heisman,” Moore said. “Their running back core is always talked about. A true freshman running back is doing great things. Yes, they talk more about the defense, but it’s a defensive league.”
Many students are comparing this game to the 2010 game when A&M upset No. 9 Nebraska at Kyle Field. Yell practice was held Thursday in order to get fans and players excited about Saturday’s matchup, and Sumlin was the guest speaker as the team heads out to Tuscaloosa to face the Crimson Tide in a Top 15 matchup.
The nationally hyped matchup will begin at 2:30 p.m. and will be televised nationally by CBS.