The days where Alabama would beat you by controlling the time of possession clock and grinding you down with methodical running game are gone.
Nick Saban no longer needs old school football because he now has a high-powered passing attack and plenty of receivers with game-changing speed. The Tide ran just 52 offensive plays and scored six touchdowns. Shockingly, A&M actually led in time of possession, holding onto the ball for 37:21.
Simply put, the Aggie defense had no answer and the Aggie offense couldn’t keep up as the second-ranked Tide cruised to a 52-24 victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, but the Aggies went on a 14-0 run of their own to tie it up. The Tide then scored 21 unanswered points and outscored the Aggies 48-10 following the 14-14 stalemate.
On their first possession of the game, Texas A&M moved the ball well with poise and a tempo the Aggies did not showcase in the season-opening victory over Vanderbilt. A&M’s initial drive ultimately stalled once they reached the red zone after Mond couldn’t connect on a pair of 50/50 balls intended for Chase Lane and Jalen Preston. Seth Small would subsequently push a 37-yard field goal attempt wide to the left.
The tide turned immediately on Alabama’s ensuing possession. On third-and-9, Mac Jones found John Metchie III for a 78-yard score as the Bama receiver streaked past true freshman corner Jaylon Jones to make it 7-0.
After a quick three-and-out, the Crimson Tide took advantage of another miscue in the Aggie secondary on another third-and-long. Mac Jones once again found a wide-open Metchie after Myles Jones stumbled, connecting for 35 yards to A&M’s 30 yard-line. Alabama moved the ball with ease, and the drive ended in a six-yard touchdown carry by Najee Harris to push the score to 14-0.
The Aggies didn’t fold. On 1st-and-10 from the Alabama 47, Mond found Ainias Smith in the flat with plenty of space to run. The A&M speedster showcased some incredible footwork as he tight-roped down the sideline, narrowly escaping a would-be tackler, on his way to a 47-yard touchdown to cut Bama’s lead in half.
On the first play of the second-quarter, Tyree Johnson induced a turnover by deflecting a Mac Jones pass high up into the air which was eventually hauled in by DeMarvin Leal for an interception. Leal returned the ball all the way to Alabama’s 17 before Najee Harris made a touchdown-saving tackle. Mond wasted no time as he hurled a touchdown pass to tight end Ryan Renick on the very next play to even up the scoring.
After trading three-and-outs, Alabama needed just six plays to go 64 yards, down to A&M’s 2-yard-line. Najee Harris would punch it in on first-and-goal to give the Tide the lead once again.
A&M would again advance the ball into Alabama territory. The Tide forced the Aggies into a fourth-and-2 situation with about 90 seconds remaining in the half. Mond found Ainias Smith on an underneath crossing route only for Smith to drop the pass. Following the turnover on downs, Mac Jones led the Tide on an eight-play drive culminating on a DeVonta Smith touchdown grab in the back of the endzone to increase the Alabama lead to three touchdowns.
Alabama began the second half by going three-and-out, but the Aggie offense couldn’t take full advantage. Mond drove the Aggies down to the Crimson Tide’s 13 yard-line, but a Jalen Wydermyer drop on third down forced A&M to settle for a 29-yard field goal by Seth Small.
The Tide began their next possession with three consecutive penalties, but on second-and-22, Mac Jones found the incredibly fast Jaylen Waddle behind the Aggie secondary for an 87-yard score to push the Alabama lead to 42-17.
After an Alabama field goal to begin the fourth, A&M once again went on a scoring drive, which Ainias Smith began with a 43-yard reception. Smith would eventually put a bow on the possession when he caught a 14-yard pass in the end zone for his second touchdown grab of the day.
Following another long Alabama touchdown pass, Jimbo Fisher got true freshman quarterback Haynes King some work. The Longview product led just a single drive, going 1/2 for 17 yards through the air along with 43 yards on the ground, and ultimately throwing an interception on a pass intended for Chase Lane.
RUMBLED: Trying to fill the big shoes left behind by Tua Tagovailoa is a tall task, but it would seem Mac Jones is up for the challenge. The Alabama quarterback took advantage of numerous mistakes in the Aggie secondary en route to 435 yards passing and four scores through the air.
STUMBLED: While the Aggies did a solid job of limited Alabama’s production on the ground (109 rushing yards, most coming late in the game), Texas A&M’s pass rush couldn’t get much pressure (if any) on Mac Jones. Mike Elko’s defense mustered just one sack on the afternoon and only one other tackle behind the line of scrimmage.
UNSUNG HERO: Can it be Jaylen Waddle? Kudos to the Aggies for making sure he couldn’t hurt them in the return game (11 yards on a single punt return), but Waddle still went off in the passing game. The sophomore from Bellaire Episcopal hauled in five catches for 142 yards and a touchdown. However, Waddle might’ve been outshined by John Metchie III, who had five receptions for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Regardless, Alabama’s wide receiver duo had their way with A&M’s secondary.
TURNING POINT: Late in the second half, Ainias Smith dropped a pass on fourth-and-two that would’ve moved the sticks. Had the Aggies converted, they could’ve possibly cut Alabama’s lead to one score. However, the Tide’s high-powered offense scored with 22 seconds remaining and took a 21-point lead into the break.
KEY STAT: Passing yards. When you throw for 335 yards in a game, you’ll walk away victorious more often than not. However, when you allow 435 yards through the air in the same game, probably not.
Bama: 9:19 – Mac Jones 78-yard touchdown pass to John Metchie III. Drive: 3 plays, 80 yards. TOP: 1:18. Alabama 7, Texas A&M 0.
Bama: 3:58 – Najee Harris 6-yard touchdown run. Drive: 7 plays, 66 yards. TOP: 3:14. Alabama 14, Texas A&M 0.
A&M: 1:13 – Kellen Mond 47-yard touchdown pass to Ainias Smith. Drive: 5 plays, 75 yards. TOP: 2:45. Alabama 14, Texas A&M 7.
A&M: 14:44 – Kellen Mond 17-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Renick. Drive: 1 play, 17 yards. TOP: 0.06. Alabama 14, Texas A&M 14.
Bama: 9:07 – Najee Harris 2-yard touchdown run. Drive: 7 plays, 66 yards. TOP: 2:34. Alabama 21, Texas A&M 14.
Bama: 6:19 – Daniel Wright 48-yard interception-return. Alabama 28, Texas A&M 14.
Bama: 0:22 – Mac Jones 2-yard touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith. Drive: 8 plays, 64 yards. TOP: 0:59. Alabama 35, Texas A&M 14.
A&M: 9:03 – Seth Small 29-yard field goal. Drive: 11 plays, 40 yards. TOP: 4:59. Alabama 35, Texas A&M 17.
Bama: 7:24 – Mac Jones 87-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Waddle. Drive: 2 plays, 72 yards. TOP: 1:39. Alabama 42, Texas A&M 17.
Bama: 10:14 – Will Reichard 27-yard field goal. Drive: 10 plays, 68 yards. TOP: 5:32. Alabama 45, Texas A&M 17.
A&M: 7:25 – Kellen Mond 14-yard touchdown pass to Ainias Smith. Drive: 6 plays, 61 yards. TOP: 2:49. Alabama 45, Texas A&M 24.
Bama: 5:33 – Mac Jones 63-yard touchdown pass to John Metchie III. Drive: 4 plays, 75 yards. TOP: 1:52. Alabama 52, Texas A&M 24.