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Photo by Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Texas A&M Football

Week Six's Overnight Sensation: Zach Calzada, Quarterback

October 11, 2021
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Each Monday during the 2021 Texas A&M football season, we’ll identify a first or second-year Aggie player who delivered an exceptional performance and earned the distinction of being the week’s ‘Overnight Sensation.’ 


Haters silenced.

After receiving relentless criticism over the last couple of weeks, sophomore quarterback Zach Calzada played the game of his life in guiding the Fightin' Texas Aggies to a historic 41-38 upset of No. 1 Alabama on Saturday night at Kyle Field.

"He was very different," said running back Devon Achane. "He just went back to practice and worked on the things that he needed to get better at. We been knowing what he can do. He just came out today and showed the abilities to the 12th Man."

“We been knowing what (Calzada) can do. He just came out today and showed the abilities to the 12th Man."
- A&M running back Devon Achane

The list of Aggie quarterbacks to defeat No. 1 ranked teams? Reggie McNeal (2002, Oklahoma). Johnny Manziel (2012, Alabama). And now Calzada has etched his name beside those program legends.

In his fourth career start, Calzada went 21-of-31 for 285 yards and three passing touchdowns on the biggest stage. His quarterback rating finished at 170.5.

"We never had doubt in Zach," said defensive back Antonio Johnson. "Being in the position he was, he was a little nervous, but tonight he showed his true potential. He showed everyone what he can do."

Not only was he fantastic in the game, but the kid from Sugar Hill, Georgia, showed serious guts, battling through some pain late in the contest.

When his team needed him most, Calzada delivered. Trailing by seven with five minutes to play, he led the Aggies on a game-tying touchdown drive, punctuated with a beautifully lofted 25-yard pass to Ainias Smith in the endzone.

Calzada was banged up on the play but channeled his inner Daniel LaRusso to return to action.

"Zach getting back off the canvas and taking a hit right there," Jimbo Fisher said." Didn't know that play was a touchdown. When they said that play was a touchdown, he smiled."

Staying in the fight with under two minutes remaining, Calzada floated yet another perfect pass on second-and-15, finding Isaiah Spiller for 17 yards and a first down. A 12-yard pass to Smith and a pass interference later, Calzada & Co. had set up Seth Small for the game-winning chip-shot.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Calzada became just the third quarterback in Texas A&M history to beat Alabama, joining Edd Hargett and Johnny Manziel.

Calzada's other two touchdown passes came in the first quarter, a 27-yarder to Jalen Wydermyer and a six-yard strike to a wide-open Smith to stake the Ags to an early two-score lead.

Perhaps lost in the unbelievable outcome is the fact that Calzada did not take a single sack, showing much-improved awareness in the pocket and a more decisive decision making. He also scrambled twice for 12 yards on the ground on the final drive after the injury.

Fisher sang Calzada's praises postgame.

"It matters to him. It means something to him, and he's gotten better each week he's played," Fisher said. "Each week he's done something, and he's preparing. He's learning how to play the position of quarterback."

Congratulations and thank you, Zach. May you never again have to pay for another drink in Aggieland.

Calzada's stats vs. Alabama
Completions: 21
Passing Attempts: 31
Passing Yards: 285
Rushing Yards: 12
Touchdowns: 3
Interceptions: 1
Sacks: 0

Calzada's 2021 stats
Completions: 90
Passing Attempts: 159
Passing Yards: 1,029
Rushing Yards: 44
Touchdowns: 9
Interceptions: 5
Sacks: 10

Discussion from...

Week Six's Overnight Sensation: Zach Calzada, Quarterback

3,509 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 7 days ago by Fedup
Aggieland12thMan
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AG
It just took time for him to get used to Earth's gravity…
MaroonStain
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AG
Gig'em, Zach!
Papa Joe
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AG
Awesome performance!
Continue getting better every week!
Congrats!
TAMU74
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AG
Congrats on a great game.
Your on your way to the top now.
Don't stop and don't look back.
Keep fighting.
Fedup
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The dime he dropped to achane was incredible.
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