The Texas A&M Aggies enter the 2021 season with high hopes as they set their eyes on a national championship. First, A&M must win its division and conference. That includes beating the Alabama Crimson Tide. Jimbo Fisher recently claimed that he will beat Nick Saban when he’s there, but that is not an easy task. The two teams meet in College Station on October 9th. Check out how the Aggies can beat Alabama and end an eight-game losing streak to the Tide.
1. Control Time Of Possession
Winning the time of possession battle is crucial for beating any high-powered offense. Keeping Bryce Young off the field will allow the Aggies defense to get ample rest and prepare for each possession. Isaiah Spiller will need to have a big game, at least more than 100 yards rushing, to keep the clock running and tire out the Tide’s defense. Generally, when the other team has more offensive talent, it’s best to not get into a shootout. Alabama is known for putting the game away in the second quarter, and it even happened to A&M last year; down three TDs at halftime. Holding the ball and finishing productive drives with TDs is a must for the Aggies to come out of this game with a win.
2. Force At least Two Turnovers
The Aggies need to come up with a few interceptions or fumble recoveries to get momentum on their side. In last season’s matchup, Mac Jones only threw one interception, and Alabama still ended the game with 52 points. Some lucky breaks will be required for the Aggies to come out on top. The important part for A&M is capitalizing on the Tide’s turnovers. The Aggies often came up short with field goals in the red zone last season after their defense forced turnovers. This was apparent in both the Auburn and LSU games. While both of these matchups were wins for the Aggies, such mistakes won’t work out against Alabama. Fisher will have to be aggressive and allow Haynes King, or Zach Calzada, to operate with his receivers and get the ball in the end zone. Moreover, A&M has to win the special teams battle. If the special teams unit can give good field possession to the Aggies in kickoff and punt returns, there will be less stress on the offense to drive down the field. While Jaylen Waddle is no longer a threat to the Aggies, it’s essential that A&M quickly tackle whoever’s returning the ball for Alabama.
3. Play Back And Help In Man-to-Man On Alabama’s WRs
Alabama’s wide receivers are a mismatch for any team in the FBS. However, A&M can’t just play zone and trust their linebackers to help cover them. Last year, the Tide offense dropped nearly 50 points on whomever they played, but they are expected to take a step back this year. Their offensive line won’t be as proficient, and there is doubt that Brian Robinson or Jase McClellan can match Najee Harris‘s productivity as a rusher and pass-catcher. The Aggies’ secondary can’t get beat over the top, and there needs to be help on John Metchie. The key is to make Alabama a one-dimensional offense, so the Aggies defense will have to limit the run game. A QB spy will be necessary at all times to avoid Bryce Young making plays outside the pocket. Playing smart and making in-game adjustments on the defensive side will be crucial for the Aggies.
Beating Alabama is pivotal to the Aggies’ hopes of advancing to their first College Football Playoff. Like 2013, exceptional quarterback play will be required, but the other factors listed above are similarly important for knocking out the Tide. This is the biggest game for A&M in the 2021 season, but they can’t lose sight of their other matchups. The one aspect that makes Alabama great is their attention to detail and focused approach. There’s a reason that they’ve been favored in every game since 2016, but the Aggies can beat Alabama and pull off the upset in Kyle Field.