The Aggies’ offensive line was overpowered by the Crimson Tide’s front seven.
It was tough going for Texas A&M at the point of attack on offense, as Alabama’s front seven were in the Aggies’ backfield for much of the afternoon. A&M could not establish a rushing attack and failed to create holes for Trayveon Williams and company. In similar fashion to Clemson, Williams totaled only 31 yards in the game, and Alabama kept the Aggie offense off balance and out of rhythm. Quarterback Kellen Mond did rush for 98 yards and a touchdown, and even though some runs were designed, several times it was due to Mond escaping pressure in the pocket and making a play by himself.
Most alarmingly, A&M allowed seven sacks and 10 tackles for a loss. Obviously, that is not a recipe for success, and numbers like that will eventually lead to your quarterback getting injured. They were simply outmanned up front. Mond ended the game throwing 16 of 33 for 196 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Texas A&M’s defense played okay against the run, but stood no chance against Alabama’s aerial attack.
The Aggie defensive front held their own against the rushing attack of Alabama, allowing a total of 109 yards and an average of 3.9 yards per carry, but did let in two touchdowns. Damien Harris lead the Crimson Tide on the ground with 52 yards, which the A&M defense should be happy with after he gashed them for 124 yards and a touchdown in last year’s matchup.
It was a different story against Tua Tagovailoa and Alabama’s wide receivers. The Aggie defense allowed 415 yards and four touchdowns in the air on Saturday. Even more, A&M did not come up with a single turnover and never sacked the quarterback. That adds up to rough day for an overall talented defense. It is also important to note that for the second time this season senior safety Donavan Wilson was ejected for targeting in the first half. That is something that needs to be cleaned up moving forward this season, as he is a leader and a key part on that side of the ball for the Aggies.
The Aggie wide receivers did what they could against a talented Alabama secondary.
When Mond actually had time in the pocket to find targets downfield, he did a good job of distributing the ball to some young, talented pass catchers who worked to get open. He managed to get five players the ball at least three times. Junior tight end Jace Sternberger made big plays early in the game and ended the day with three catches for 59 yards and the Aggies’ only receiving touchdown. Quartney Davis went for 59 yards on five catches, while Camron Buckley and Kendrick Rogers each caught four balls for 41 yards and 38 yards, respectively. Freshman running back Jashaun Corbin also ended the game with three catches for 24 yards.
The stage was again not too big for freshman kicker Seth Small.
In a loss like this, you have to look for positives wherever you can. Small is one of those positives. The true freshman kicker out of Katy, Texas is filling in for Daniel LaCamera while the senior is out with an injury. Small was perfect in his debut last week at home against ULM, and went three for three on Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa. Small kicks with confidence, and one of his three kicks included booting through a 52-yard attempt in the second quarter to salvage points for the Aggies and keep them within four. LaCamera will be graduating sooner than later, and Small could be a dependable foot for the Aggies for the next few years.
Tua Tagovailoa is good.
The sophomore quarterback, who helped Alabama to a national title in last year’s championship game, is one of the most dangerous players in the country. He showed it on Saturday afternoon, throwing 22-of-33 for 387 yards and four touchdowns. Tagovailoa has done what many thought was not possible, by making Alabama a better football team. He provides the Crimson Tide with something that they have never really had under Nick Saban. That is a true passer who can sit in the pocket and make accurate throws with a strong arm, while also still being a threat with his legs. It does not look like Tagovailoa or the Alabama offense will slow down any time soon, and it is not clear who has a chance going to beat them in 2018.
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