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Texas A&M Football

Five goals for upset-minded Aggies as top-ranked Tide comes to town

October 6, 2021

There’s an old saying that when all is said and done, more is usually said than done.

That’s because setting goals is easy. Accomplishing them is the hard part.

For eight straight years, Texas A&M has had a goal of duplicating the Aggies’ 29-24 victory over Alabama in 2012.

Sometimes they’ve come close. Sometimes they’ve had no chance.

All indications this year say the Aggies’ chances are slim. That is if they have any chance at all.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Saban and the defending champion Crimson Tide currently appear to be on a collision course to face No. 2 Georgia in the SEC Championship.

Alabama (5-0) is ranked No. 1 as usual and is riding a 19-game winning streak dating back to 2019.

Meanwhile, Texas A&M (3-2) is limping into the fray on a two-game losing streak. The Aggies’ offense has struggled to move the football. The defense, while good, has not been as dominant a unit as was projected.

The Aggies certainly face a herculean task against the Crimson Tide.

But to pull off a stunning upset, here are five goals that much be accomplished:

• Quarterback must contribute to the running game

Running is always a key, but perhaps more so in this game. A&M rushed for 165 yards in its 2012 victory in Tuscaloosa. Of course, 92 of those were on scrambles by quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Zach Calzada is no Manziel, but he has running ability. He showed that on a 25-yard touchdown run against Mississippi State last week. A&M doesn’t want Calzada to be its leading rusher. He does need to complement the running of Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane.

Earlier this season, Alabama held on for a 31-29 victory over Florida. Gator quarterback Emory Jones rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown.

• Pressure Alabama quarterback Bryce Young

The Aggies have had a good pass rush. They’ve recorded 15 sacks. However, the pass rush was projected to be even more lethal.

Coach Jimbo Fisher acknowledged the need to provide for pressure.

“We’ve got to find a way to get better pass rush,” he said following last week’s loss to Mississippi State. “We brought pressure at times, and we didn’t get there.”

Alabama has allowed 10 sacks. If the Aggies can consistently pressure Young, they may be able to …

• Minimize Alabama’s big plays

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
In his first season as the starting quarterback, Bryce Young has been dynamic at times.

The Crimson Tide doesn’t appear as explosive as in recent seasons. Last year, the Tide had 40 offensive plays of 30 yards or more. This season, Alabama has eight.

The Aggies cannot repeat last year’s matchup when they allowed touchdown passes which covered 63, 78 and 87 yards.

In the only Alabama game in jeopardy this year, the Tide had no plays over 30 yards and only three of 20 yards or more in the victory over Florida.

A&M must make the Tide work hard for touchdowns. That hasn’t typically been the case. In the SEC series with Alabama, A&M has given up 17 touchdowns on plays that have covered 30 yards or more.

• Do not allow non-offensive touchdowns

That’s been a major problem for the Aggies against Alabama. The Tide has scored seven non-offensive touchdowns in SEC games against A&M.

The disastrous 2015 game in which Kyle Allen had three interceptions returned for touchdowns stands out most.

However, Jonathan Allen’s 30-yard fumble return late in the third quarter provided Alabama an insurmountable 26-14 lead in 2016.

Last year, Daniel Wright’s 47-yard interception return put the Aggies in a 28-14 hole.

Also, Vinnie Sunseri’s 73-yard interception return turned out to be huge in the 2013 loss. Of course, it never should have counted because there was blatant pass interference.

• Finish the first half strong

Alabama’s has frequently scored shortly before halftime in its victories.

Last season, DeVonta Smith caught a short touchdown pass with 22 seconds remaining in the first half to give the Tide a 35-14 lead.

In 2018, a close game turned into a blowout in the last 1:09 of the half with Alabama’s Hale Hentges catching a touchdown pass and kicker Joe Bulovas adding a field goal. Those gave Alabama a 31-13 lead.

Jalen Hurts scored with 3:16 remaining to give Alabama a 17-3 lead in 2017. T.J. Yeldon had a 4-yard touchdown run for a 28-14 lead with 45 seconds left in the half in 2013.

Even in A&M’s 29-24 victory in 2012, Eddie Lacy scored with 19 seconds left in the half to bring Alabama within 20-14.

If the Aggies accomplish these five goals, they will have a chance to end their losing streak to Alabama. But doing that is easier said than done.

Discussion from...

Five goals for upset-minded Aggies as top-ranked Tide comes to town

7,044 Views | 6 Replies | Last: 10 mo ago by Maroon Flash
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6. force turnovers.

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7. forgetting to turn off the sprinklers would be a shame

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To have a legitimate chance to win this game we will need 14 pts gift wrapped. That can be a special teams td, a defensive td, or at the bare minimum a very very short field turnover that leads to a td.
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Play a complete game - not a game of halves.
No stupid penalties.
The OL and DL have to step up.
The defense has to create turnovers.
Receivers have to CATCH the ball.
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Play hard, play aggressive, play smart, and don't worry about making mistakes.
But for God sake don't play scared.
Maroon Flash
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My thoughts have been it is essential for Calzada to be a running threat, and we are way overdue for Bama to play a sloppy game against us.

Keep the game close and we will have a puncers chance at the end.

We can not allow the big plays!
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