The Texas A&M Aggies look to avoid their third straight loss against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Kyle Field. Alabama enters the game as the top team in the nation, and the Aggies are a huge underdog at home. Texas A&M’s offense continues to struggle after subpar performances against Arkansas and Mississippi State. Now, Zach Calzada will go up against one of the top defenses in the country. Check out the matchups that the Aggies will have to win to come out victorious in this game.
Devon Achane and Isaiah Spiller vs. Alabama’s Run Defense
Texas A&M will likely have to rely on its running game for the offense to score points. Alabama’s secondary is stacked, so Calzada can’t force the ball downfield and give Alabama a short field.
Spiller had 100 yards and Achane had 70 yards last game against Mississippi State, and they both will likely have to combine for 200 rushing yards to win this game. Alabama’s defensive front was susceptible to the run against Florida, so the Aggies’ offensive line can enforce its presence on the line of scrimmage.
Efficiency in the running game will create more opportunities in the passing game. Jimbo Fisher has to scheme quick passes so Calzada can get the ball out of his hands quickly. Will Anderson must be accounted for at all times, and Phidarian Mathis needs to be held up. Getting the ball to Ainias Smith, Jalen Wydermyer, and Chase Lane in the passing game will open up the offense. Texas A&M’s pass-catchers will have to win one-on-one matchups.
Bryce Young vs. Texas A&M’s Secondary
Clearly, the Aggies’ defense struggled to stop Will Rogers last week. This Saturday, Texas A&M will face more of the same with Heisman frontrunner Bryce Young and his plethora of weapons.
The first step for Texas A&M’s defense is to limit the running game. Brian Robinson had 170 rushing yards and four touchdowns in Alabama’s win over Ole Miss. Granted, Texas A&M has a formidably better defense than Ole Miss, but the Aggies must do their best to make the Crimson Tide’s offense one-dimensional.
Even then, Alabama is so hard to stop. Young has NFL pass-catchers in John Metchie, Jameson Williams, and Jahleel Billingsley. Young is even effective outside the pocket, but he rarely chooses to run with the ball. The Aggies will continually have to drop six in coverage, and force turnovers to have a chance in this game. Alabama currently holds the FBS streak all-time for most consecutive games with 30-plus points; that will have to change come Saturday night.
Texas A&M last beat Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2012 with Johnny Manziel. Since then, Alabama has won this matchup by nearly an average of 25 points. No assistant of Alabama’s head coach Nick Saban has beaten him, so Jimbo Fisher will need a great effort from his team to end that streak. Anything is possible, and Aggies’ fans will have to come in full force to give Texas A&M that powerful home-field advantage. Calzada will need to have the biggest game of his life. Otherwise, the Aggies will fall to 3-3 on the season.