Texas A&M fell short in a 47-28 loss to Alabama after struggling to contain the Crimson Tide’s overwhelming offense. The game was marked by inconsistencies on both sides of the ball for the Aggies, as well as a lack of special teams coverage.
No. 1 Alabama’s offense entered the game ranked third nationally in offensive production. The Tide played to its offensive strength, putting up 448 total yards in the game. Junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa strengthened his Heisman campaign with a 61.8 completion percentage, alongside 293 yards and four touchdowns.
Junior running back Najee Harris also played a huge role for Alabama on the ground with 114 yards on 20 carries.
A&M junior defensive tackle Justin Madubuike noted his frustration with Alabama’s scoring ability, especially on third downs.
“It was very frustrating because we pride ourselves on getting off the field on third downs,” Madubuike said. “We just have to keep playing. Our schedule is filled with great opportunities for us to play games against great teams … It’s all about the bounce back and how you prepare for the next one.”
No. 24 A&M’s defense struggled as a whole, but also made key stops during the game. An intercepted pass from Tagovailoa led to a field goal drive for the Aggies, and was Tagovailoa’s first turnover of the season.
On the offensive side of the ball, A&M showed flashes of solid play, but was ultimately stifled by stagnant drives brought on by issues that have plagued the team all season.
The Aggies opened up scoring on their first possession. This was the first game of the season that A&M scored on its opening drive, and the team seemed balanced on all aspects of the offense. Junior quarterback Kellen Mond displayed his running ability as he led A&M in rushing with 90 yards on 16 carries, and scored on a one-yard quarterback keeper.
Mond ended the night with a 57.1 completion percentage, 264 passing yards and two touchdowns. Freshman tailback Isaiah Spiller also had 24 yards on the ground in the opening drive.
Spiller was not given many more opportunities after the first drive due to A&M having to play catch-up, and finished with just 27 yards on 10 carries.
While the Aggies started hot, the offensive issues such as poor blocking and miscues on big plays soon caught up to the team.
Seven of A&M’s 12 drives ended in punts or turnovers as the offense showed the inconsistency that has marked the offense since the second week of play. The offense accumulated 389 yards in the game and was stride for stride with the Tide in first down with 24 to Alabama’s 25. Both teams also equalized in time of possession with the Aggies’ 29:04 to the Tide’s 30:56.
However, A&M was out-rushed and out-passed by the Tide, and the difference came down to the Aggies’ inability to score touchdowns instead of field goals.
“Offensively, I thought we moved the ball consistently for the most part, even had some good run game early in the football game,'' Fisher said. “And then once you got behind, you kind of snowballed and you had to keep throwing the football, but still gave ourselves opportunities.”
Special teams also played a major factor in the game, as Alabama sophomore Jaylen Waddle would average 32 yards on four punt returns, giving the Tide excellent field position on key drives.
Alabama coach Nick Saban explained that his team does not get the opportunity to return punts very often, but due to senior A&M punter Braden Mann’s leg strength, his team was able to return punts.
“A great punter is good for us because we’ll get some return balls, and we got some”, Saban said. “He kicked it far, and we returned it far.”
The Aggies will go on the road next week to play Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi on Oct. 19. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., and the game will be broadcasted on SEC Network.