Alabama at Texas A&M Game Preview: Everything You Need To Know Before Kickoff
No. 10 Alabama (5-1, 2-1 SEC) at No. 9 Texas A&M (5-0, 2-0 SEC)
When: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 2:30 p.m. CT
Where: Kyle Field in College Station, Texas
TV: CBS (Play-by-play: Verne Lundquist, color analyst: Gary Danielson, sideline reporter: Allie LaForce)
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (Play-by-play: Eli Gold, color analyst: Phil Savage, sideline reporter: Chris Stewart).
Spread: Alabama (-3), according to OddsShark. After one week as a marginal underdog against Georgia on Oct. 3, the Crimson Tide has been the favorite in two consecutive games. Prior to its road game against the Bulldogs, the Crimson Tide was favorites in 73 consecutive games, or the 2009 SEC Championship Game.
Series History: Alabama lead the all-time series, 5-2. The schools’ first meeting came in the 1942 Cotton Bowl (following the 1941 season), a 29-21 Crimson Tide win. The victory helped Alabama secure a claim for the 1941 national championship.
Last Meeting: Alabama blew out Texas A&M, 59-0, in Bryant-Denny Stadium last season. Saturday’s meeting will mark the fourth time the schools have met as SEC foes, with the Crimson Tide owning a 2-1 record over the Aggies over that span.
Jake Coker found Calvin Ridley for an 81-yard touchdown late in the third quarter that ultimately put the Crimson Tide up for good in its 27-14 win over the Razorbacks on homecoming.
Alabama had a rare halftime deficit against Arkansas, trailing 7-3 before Ridley’s score broke the game open for the Crimson Tide offense. It scored 17 more points, all unanswered, in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach for the Razorbacks.
Coker completed 24 of 33 passes for 262 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, his second setting up Arkansas’ first touchdown. Ridley, a true freshman, had career highs in catches (nine) and yards (140) in the win.
Strong defensive performances from both teams kept the score low through the better part of three quarters.
Texas A&M was on its bye week, presumably strategically planned to have an extra week of preparation for Alabama.
On Oct. 3, the day of its last game, the Aggies beat then-No. 21 Mississippi State, 30-17, at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas.
The Aggies’ lead was never in doubt, as it led by double digits for most of the game, including a 14-point halftime lead (24-10).
Sophomore quarterback Kyle Allen went 25 of 41 for 322 yards and two touchdowns in the win, while receiver Josh Reynolds had seven receptions for 141 yards.
Running back Tra Carson carried the ball 26 times for 110 yards and a score.
Aggies defensive ends Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall each had a sack to improve their totals to 7.5 and five, respectively, this season.
Keep an eye on:
Cam Robinson/Dominick Jackson, offensive tackles: For one reason or another, both Robinson and Jackson have had their struggles in pass protection this season, including last week against Arkansas. Still, even if both were in their best form, it’s not unlikely to think that they would still have some trouble going up against Aggies defensive ends Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall, each of whom rank near the top nationally in sacks this season. Regardless, the coaching staff will probably do their best to give the two offensive tackles as much help as they can.
Marlon Humphrey, cornerback: Humphrey hasn’t had a bad year by any means in his first year as a starter, but many would point to the redshirt freshman as the weakest link in Alabama’s secondary, because, if anything, his age and inexperience at the position he plays. The Aggies’ explosive passing offense will almost surely single out Humphrey, forcing the former five-star prospect to either step up, or let Alabama swap corners and mix up coverages as it did with him against Georgia two weeks ago.
Myles Garrett/Daeshon Hall, defensive ends: The dominant duo are the most productive pair of defensive ends in the nation when it comes to rushing the quarterback, and the stats back it up. Garrett, a sophomore, has 7.5 sacks (11.5 last year as a true freshman), while Hall, a junior, has five through five games, respectively. Robinson and Jackson hold the size advantage, but Garrett and Hall can beat them with their speed.
Christian Kirk, wide receiver: If there’s one player who will give Alabama trouble on the backend on defense, it’s Kirk. Still only a true freshman, the former five-star prospect leads the Aggies with 32 catches for 519 yards and four touchdowns. But because the Aggies have several other skill position players that require attention, Kirk might find himself in some favorable situations. He’s able dangerous in the return game, as the team’s starting kick and punt returner.
- Sophomore left tackle Cam Robinson was limited in practice all week with an undisclosed injury in the lead up to the Arkansas game, Nick Saban said this past Monday. He practiced throughout this week without any clear limitations, participating in every drill during the media viewing periods.
- Sophomore wide receiver Speedy Noil, who led Texas A&M in all-purpose yards last season as a freshman, is questionable after missing each of the last two games due to an undisclosed injury. Freshman Christian Kirk’s production hasn’t allowed the Aggies to miss a beat, though.
- Sophomore running back James White, who was expected to serve as starter Tra Carson’s primary backup this season, has been a non-factor this season, in part due to an undisclosed He is questionable to play against Alabama. The Aggies have few reinforcements behind Carson.
- Sophomore linebacker Otaro Alaka is also questionable with an undisclosed injury sustained against Arkansas that forced him to sit out Mississippi State.