Alabama vs. Texas A&M score takeaways: No. 1 tide barely survived Bryce Young’s absence to edge Aggies

Battling an ineffective offense and underperforming special teams unit, Alabama’s No. 1 narrowly edged Texas A&M in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to keep his perfect season alive and avenge last year’s loss. against the Aggies. Leading 24-20 at the end of the fourth quarter, the Crimson Tide defended on the goal line in the dying seconds of the game as Aggies quarterback Haynes King’s pass from the 2-yard line fell incomplete with the elapsed time.

King, who replaced injured QB Max Johnson, led the game until the final whistle by leading Texas A&M on a furious 10-play, 69-yard drive. However, Alabama’s defense held firm in the final play as the Tide survived their biggest scare of the season so far.

Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs was the star of the show, rushing for 167 total yards for a team that struggled offensively behind QB Jalen Milroe. Replacing 2021 Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, who sat out with a sprained shoulder suffered against Arkansas, Milroe completed just 12 of 19 passes for 111 yards with one interception and two fumbles; both fumbles led directly to Texas A&M touchdowns. However, Milroe also rushed for a key 83 yards on 17 carries and threw for three touchdowns to help boost Bama’s offense in key moments.

King ran for his life much of the game as the Tide’s front seven were relentless. He was sacked three times and rushed 14 times with star Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr., the CBS Sports Preseason Player of the Year, getting eight of those pushes. King ultimately completed just 25 of 46 passes for 253 yards with two touchdowns and a pick.

This kind of tidal defensive performance was needed considering how sloppy they were with football. In addition to Milroe’s errors, RB Jase McClellan also lost a fumble. In total, the ball touching the ground three times led to 17 points for the Aggies. Combined with an uneven performance from Bama kicker Will Reichard – who netted a 50-yard field goal just before halftime but missed 47 yards late in the third quarter and 35 yards midway through the fourth – the Tide kept the Aggies in the game until the bitter end.

“It was a big win for our team,” Saban said on the post-game show. “We had a lot of adversity to overcome, especially because Bryce couldn’t play. Jalen made good plays, but we had no consistency in attack.”

Here are the biggest thriller takeaways in Tuscaloosa.

Gibbs saved the day

Young’s absence likely means he won’t become the second two-time Heisman Trophy winner in history. It may be unfair, but it’s the reality given the talent that exists in college football.

A case can be made for Gibbs, however.

The transfer from Georgia Tech was the focal point of Alabama’s offense, and Texas A&M’s front seven couldn’t do anything about it. The Dalton, Georgia junior averaged 7.3 yards per carry and sliced ​​through the center of the Aggie defense like a hot knife through butter. It’s the kind of performance that will get voters who haven’t paid much attention to Gibbs this season.

This match was one of the most anticipated matches of the year. For Gibbs, having that kind of performance given the Tide’s offensive limitations is exactly what a running back needs to gain consideration.

The tide is heading for trouble

Every team — even a national title contender like Alabama — is allowed a mulligan. That was what a Week 2 win over Texas was for the Crimson Tide. Saturday’s game was golf’s version of a right shot that hit a tree, bounced off the cart path and somehow landed on the green. The Tide came away with a win, but make no mistake, they’re heading into the danger zone. What’s more problematic is that they could do it with Milroe, who didn’t really inspire confidence.

The Crimson Tide heads to Rocky Top next weekend to take on a Tennessee offense that just lost 40 on the road at LSU. The Volunteers scored on their first four possessions in Death Valley, just one game after going a full 60 minutes without a punt against Florida. It’s one thing for Alabama to give Texas A&M every possible chance to win the game. After all, the Aggies don’t exactly have one of the strongest offenses in the country. Tennessee does, and he plays so fast he can turn a game around in minutes.

Whether it’s Milroe or Young, who may not be 100%, the last thing Alabama needs is to find themselves in a situation on the road where they absolutely have to find the end zone to stay in. the game. Unless something miraculous happens by Saturday afternoon in Knoxville, it seems to be.

King played his heart

King has been named the Aggies’ starting quarterback in fall camp for each of the past two years, but his career hasn’t exactly gone to plan. He suffered a season-ending injury in the first quarter of a Week 2 game last year and was benched after the Aggies’ second game this year for multiple errors.

Against Alabama, King went 25 of 46 for 253 yards, two touchdowns and an interception behind a porous offensive line. He was visibly limping on the final drive of the game, but still managed to go 5 of 9 (excluding a spike) for 46 yards without having a timeout in his back pocket. It’s the kind of performance that would make Jonathan Moxon of “Varsity Blues” smile.

His performance didn’t have the same Hollywood ending, but he deserves a ton of credit for leaving it all on the biggest stage of his career.

Bama big game

Explosive plays make a huge difference in college football, and they’re the main reason Alabama won over the Aggies.

The Tide snatched 13 rushing plays of 10 or more yards — including four of 25 or more yards — which accounted for 212 of their 288 rushing yards. That softened the Aggies defense enough to give Milroe at least a little leeway in the passing game and helped him open up windows for him to throw his three touchdown passes.

Would Alabama have escaped victory without these games? Probably not. Offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien deserves a ton of credit for keeping the Aggie defense honest with a multidimensional rushing offense that kept the Aggies honest.

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