One of the topics was whether Texas A&M closed the gap on Alabama after the Aggies finished 9-1 in 2020, losing only to a Crimson Tide team that finished as undefeated national champions was one of the topics. sizzling in the offseason of college football. As the two prepare to meet on Saturday night, the question is no longer whether Texas A&M closed the gap, but whether the No. 1 Alabama increased it.
A Texas A&M offense touted as more dynamic than last year’s unit has failed since an early-season injury to starting quarterback Haynes King, and the Aggies’ much-vaunted defense now has little help. That’s not exactly the recipe for success as the Crimson Tide comes to town after an authoritative 42-21 win over Ole Miss last week.
The Aggies face back-to-back SEC West losses after a 26-22 home loss to Mississippi State and risk starting the SEC game 0-3. It would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago, as coach Jimbo Fisher entered his fourth season, pledging to defeat Alabama and coach Nick Saban at some point. Now, as the two prepare to entangle, it looks like only a miracle will keep Saban from wearing his record against his former assistants to 25-0.
Alabama vs. Texas A&M: what to know
A test for the Alabama offense: It will be the best defense Alabama have faced since narrowly escaping Florida with a 31-29 victory on September 18. In that game, Alabama’s offense exploded for three touchdowns on their first three possessions before slowing down, allowing the Gators to return to the game. Florida gave themselves a shot by forcing the Crimson Tide to throw three. consecutive series in the second quarter. Keeping the Crimson Tide at bay for long stretches is next to impossible, but Mississippi State is the only team to have scored more than two TDs on Texas A&M this season.
Aggies wading offensively: The most obvious difference between this SEC road game and Alabama’s victory over Florida is the caliber of the opposing offense. The Florida defense came off the field in the second quarter and gave the ball away to an offense that ranks first nationally in yards per carry this season. The Gators found holes in the Alabama defense with creative play calls and quality offensive line play. Texas A&M’s 5.2 yards per carry is solid, but the Aggies don’t have a mobile quarterback like Florida and don’t have a passing offense that Alabama will have to respect. A few three-and-outs for the Texas A&M offense could force the Aggies’ defense into some tough spots and allow Alabama to take control.
Sore from wounds: Alabama has received some bad news following their win over Ole Miss. Second-year running back Jase McClellan will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury he sustained in the fourth quarter of this game. But the Crimson Tide has enough back in the team to deal with his loss. The injuries reported by Texas A&M this week look much more crippling. Cornerbacks Myles Jones and Brian George will miss the rest of the season, as will center Luke Matthews. Jones played sparingly after a strong 2020 campaign, but George had been a high school mainstay for the Aggies until he was injured against Arkansas. Matthews was supposed to be the team’s starting center after missing the 2020 season, but had played limited snaps this season. Those injuries, along with King’s injury in the quarterback and issues with the team’s receiver depth, put the Aggies’ depth to the test.
How to watch Alabama vs. Texas A&M live
Alabama vs Texas A&M prediction, pick
Featured Game | Texas A&M Aggies vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
It’ll be the best defense Alabama have faced since playing in Florida, but the Aggies’ inability to move the football on offense will give the Crimson Tide a lot more cracks offensively. Expect the Aggies’ defense to bend without breaking a bit before the floodgates open in the third quarter. Prediction: Alabama (-17.5)
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