Well, the streak is finally over. Texas A&M beats Alabama 41-38 in Kyle Field to give Jimbo Fisher his first win over Nick Saban. This was a game with a rollercoaster of emotions, and Alabama looked like it could pull away late. Nonetheless, the Aggies hung in there, and Texas A&M came out with a hard-fought win. Now, Texas A&M stands at 4-2. Hopes of reaching an NY6 Bowl or even the SEC Championship are still there, but the Aggies had a lot to be happy about Saturday. Check out a quarter-by-quarter analysis of Texas A&M’s win.
Quarter 1: Aggies Start Strong
Isaiah Spiller started off the game with two nice runs for 20 yards. Zach Calzada threw a dart to Ainias Smith towards the right sideline to get the Aggies past midfield. Demond Demas had his first catch after Malachi Moore was ejected for targeting. A big loss by Spiller led the Aggies to fourth down, and Seth Small kicked his 10th field goal of the season to put the Aggies up 3-0.
On the Aggies’ second drive, Demas had another catch for a first down. A big play by Jalen Wydermyer got Texas A&M near the red zone. Calzada scrambled out of the pocket, and he threw a strike to Wydermyer for a touchdown to put Texas A&M up 10-7.
Devon Achane and Spiller split carries on the third drive to lead the Aggies within Alabama’s 10-yard line. Calzada’s pass to Smith put the Aggies up 17-7.
Alabama quickly got across midfield after a pass to Cameron Latu from Bryce Young. A holding penalty by Latu pushed the Crimson Tide back, but Young ran for a first down. Slade Bolden got Alabama in the red zone, and Roydell Williams scored the first touchdown for Alabama.
Alabama was back in business on their second drive, but a fumble by Brian Robinson gave the ball back to the Aggies.
On Alabama’s third drive, a costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by the Aggies put Alabama near the 50-yard line. Young had a big play to John Metchie to put Alabama in the red zone.
Texas A&M went into the second quarter with a 17-7 lead over Alabama.
Quarter 2: Aggies Keep Pace
Texas A&M went back to the running game on its fourth drive, and Spiller was effective in getting the Aggies out of their end zone. The Aggies were forced to punt near midfield after a failed third down conversion.
The Aggies started their fifth drive with a 10-point lead, but the drive quickly ended with Calzada throwing an interception to DeMarco Hellams.
Achane started A&M’s sixth drive with a loss for yardage on a run play. Calzada had a nice pass to Achane to get the Aggies into Alabama’s territory. Spiller followed that up with a quick pass after contact for a first down. Calzada threw another strike down the middle to Smith for a first down, and Spiller finished the drive off with a touchdown to put A&M up 24-10.
Alabama ended its third drive with an interception in the end zone after failed rushing attempts by Robinson on goal-to-go situations.
Texas A&M’s defense was all over Young on Alabama’s fourth drive. A holding penalty by the Aggies’ defense gave Alabama a first down, but Texas A&M got a sack to end the drive.
Robinson started with two strong runs on Alabama’s fifth drive to get the Crimson Tide into the red zone. Jayden Peevy suffered an apparent injury, and Leon O’ Neal Jr. sacked Young in the red zone to force a field goal. Will Reichard made the field goal to put Alabama down only by a touchdown: 17-10.
Alabama began its sixth drive in need of a score. Robinson started with a big play for 30 yards from a screen pass from Young. Young was consistently inaccurate in the first half, which definitely helped out the Aggies’ defense. A drop by Jahleel Billingsley led Alabama to fourth down, and the Crimson Tide was forced to punt.
Texas A&M went into halftime with a 24-10 lead over Alabama.
Quarter 3: Alabama Comes Back
Texas A&M went three-and-out on its seventh drive, but that wasn’t the primary issue; Alabama was able to block the kick for a touchdown. This reduced the lead to 24-17 for the Aggies.
The following possession, Achane made up for the punt block by returning the ball on a kickoff for 96 yards and a touchdown. This score put the Aggies up by two scores: 31-17.
The third quarter just wasn’t favorable to the Aggies’ offense. They went three-and-out on their eighth drive as well, giving the ball back to Alabama heading into the fourth quarter.
Alabama started off with the ball in the second half. On the Crimson Tide’s seventh drive, Robinson was force-fed the ball. The Aggies’ defensive front held up, and the defense was able to force a punt by Alabama.
On Alabama’s eighth drive, Robinson and Williams created big plays to get the Crimson Tide into the red zone. Williams is clearly Young’s number one threat, as Williams scored a 30-yard touchdown to shorten the Aggies’ lead to 31-24.
Texas A&M headed into the fourth quarter with a 31-24 lead over Alabama.
Quarter 4: Aggies Close Out
Texas A&M continued more of the same from the third quarter on the offensive side of the ball. Calzada just didn’t look like himself for the majority of the second half. The Aggies had to punt after four plays.
The Aggies’ 1oth drive was another three-and-out, primarily due to drops by Wydermyer and inaccurate throws by Calzada to Smith. Calzada had an open touchdown pass to Smith, but pressure by Alabama’s defense forced him to throw the ball early.
Texas A&M was in need of a score on its 11th drive due to being down by seven points. Calzada made some great passes to both Smith and Wydermyer from the pocket, and Smith caught Brian Branch off guard to score a 25-yard touchdown. This evened up the score at 38.
The Aggies started their final drive with a run for a loss, but Calzada made up for it with a 20-yard pass to Smith. The Aggies looked to be a totally different team from last week’s game against Mississippi State. A defensive pass interference call put the Aggies into the red zone, and Seth Small finished it with a game-winning field goal to put the Aggies up 41-38.
Texas A&M’s defense couldn’t stop Alabama in the open field, but the Aggies’ defense shut down the Crimson Tide in the redzone. On Alabama’s ninth drive, they reached within Texas A&M’s 15-yard line, but Young was constantly inaccurate in passes to Metchie and Bolden. Alabama’s receivers just kept dropping the ball. The Crimson Tide had to settle for a field goal to make the score 31-27.
Yet again, Alabama drove the ball down the field on its 10th drive, but mistakes in the red zone made them kick a field goal. On this drive, the Crimson Tide decided to pass on three consecutive plays within the 10-yard line. Needless to say, that’s not good offensive playcalling. After the field goal, the score was 31-30 to the Aggies’ side.
Alabama’s 11th drive was a productive nine-play drive, which resulted in a touchdown and two-point conversion. The Aggies left Williams open in the endzone, so Young obviously took advantage of the opportunity. After this drive, Alabama was up 38-31.
Alabama could’ve drove down the field on its 12th drive to close out the game. Unfortunately, a drop by Billingsley and tipped passes forced Alabama into a three-and-out. Alabama punted the ball back to Texas A&M with two minutes left and the score tied.
Texas A&M beat Alabama on a game-winning field goal by Seth Small, winning 41-38.
Texas A&M came into this season circling this game. Although the Aggies had slip-ups in match-ups against Arkansas and Mississippi State, Texas A&M now has a good outlook for the rest of the season at 4-2. The running game proved to be effective, and the running backs came up clutch in winning this game. Now, Jimbo Fisher‘s squad should believe that they can compete with anyone.