Alabama 27, Texas A&M 19: Talking points, grades
- Author: Julie Sanders Oct 08, 2017,
Oct 08, 2017, 10:36
Now, the top-ranked Crimson Tide visits Kyle Field as almost four-touchdown favorites, trying to maintain that hot streak without letting those utterly one-sided games lead to overconfidence or complacency. Head Coach Nick Saban finds a way to put a top team on the field year in and year out, and this year is no different.
This was Alabama's closest game of the season by far. That extended the Tide's run to 149 points without allowing a touchdown. Here are five things we learned from the first game this season in which a team came within 16 or fewer points of the Crimson Tide.
The Aggies threatened to turn a momentum boost in the fourth quarter into a dramatic upset when walk-on linebacker Cullen Gillaspia blocked a punt in the Crimson Tide end zone with a little more than 10 minutes left.
The nation's No. 1 team takes its act on the road this Saturday to face Texas A&M, who have rebounded nicely since an opening weekend collapse against UCLA. Senior cornerback Levi Wallace, who has a team-best three interceptions, was the SEC Defensive Player of the Week after picking off two passes and returning one for a touchdown in the 66-3 annihilation of Ole Miss.
While the Aggie offense was starting to heat up, the Alabama offense went frigid with help from an Aggie defense that held them to 4 yards a play and 1.7 yards a rush in the second half. Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa have combined for 10 touchdown passes this season. As if that is not enough, Jalen Hurts had to endure the entire offseason answering critics' questions about whether he could become a deep ball threat.
Still, this was Hurts' first multi-sack game since the opener against Florida State. He passed for 159 yards and ran for a team-high 95 in the win over SC. The score cut Alabama's lead to 24-10 with 1:39 to play in the third quarter.
Alabama update: Dynamic sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts of Channelview will make his first college start in his home state. Williams still leads A&M in rushing (384 in four games), but Ford's seven rushing touchdowns are two more than Williams and six more than any other Aggie.
Through five contests, Hurts has carved up defenses for 461 rushing yards and 4 TDs on the ground.
Can anyone stop the Tide from rolling?
But since turning its attention toward the SEC, the Tide has ratcheted up the intensity. At that point, it appeared as if Alabama was on its way to another blowout victory.
Saban is a straight-shooter and all about business. The Tide rushed the ball 43 times for 235 yards and they averaged 5.5 yards per carry.
Maligned throughout the season's first three weeks for some poor pass protection and not finishing its blocks - a byproduct of what Tide coach Nick Saban labeled a lack of physicality - the Tide's offensive line has cured whatever ailed it.