They showed emotion. They didn’t turn the ball over. They weren’t penalized once. And while doing all that, they handed Texas A&M the biggest beat down of the Nick Saban era.

Everything that had been a point of criticism for No. 7 Alabama in its last two games was from the case on Saturday as the Crimson Tide thumped No. 21 Texas A&M, 59-0.

Alabama, which had only scored 24 total offensive points the last two weeks, erupted for 35 points in the second quarter alone, breaking the previous school record for points in a quarter (34) set against Ole Miss on Oct. 7, 1989. By the end of the half, Alabama led 45-0 and gained 449 total yards of offense.

“I think this is as close to the Alabama football that we want to try to get from our players in terms of effort, toughness, emotional excitement and execution that we got throughout the game,” Saban said.

Texas A&M, which ranked third and fourth nationally in total offense the past two seasons and entered Saturday’s game ranked fourth again, was held to its worst marks offensively under Kevin Sumlin, who took over as head coach in 2012. The Aggies finished with lows in passing yards (141), rushing yards (31), total yards (172).

To put it in perspective, Texas A&M has been held under 400 total yards of offense only three times previously in Sumlin’s three seasons as head coach. At halftime, the Aggies had 51 yards of offense – zero coming on the ground.

The closest Texas A&M came to scoring was on a dropped interception on Alabama’s goal line on the opening possession of the game, which instead resulted in a 21-yard field goal from Adam Griffith on the following play to make it 3-0. A Reggie Ragland interception late in the third quarter ended a potential scoring drive and a turnover on downs after a long kickoff return with just over four minutes remaining in the game ended the Aggies’ two closest scoring drives on offense.

Aggies first-year starting quarterback Kenny Hill, who entered the game with the second-most passing yards in the country, was held to a career-low 138 yards through the air and was intercepted once.

“We’ve been working on it all week, Coach Bo (Davis), Coach Saban and Coach (Lance) Thompson all put a big emphasis on playing defense the Alabama way,” said defensive end Jonathan Allen, who had one of the Crimson Tide’s season-high six sacks on the day. “I’m glad that we did what we’ve been taught and coached to do.”

Not only was the win the largest margin of victory for the Crimson Tide in the Nick Saban era, breaking the previous high of 56 points set in a 63-7 win over Georgia State on Nov. 18, 2010, it was also the largest since a 66-3 win at Vanderbilt on Sept. 29, 1979.

For the Aggies, it was their most lopsided loss since a 77-0 defeat at Oklahoma in 2003. Dennis Franchione, who had previously coached at Alabama by that time, was Texas A&M’s head coach that day.

With the score at 52-0, Alabama starters, including quarterback Blake Sims, began to be replaced throughout the third quarter. Sims completed 16-of-27 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns. He also scored on a 43-yard run in the second quarter.

Sims, who has been a revelation in home games for Alabama this season, struggled along with the rest of the Crimson Tide offense in back-to-back road games at Ole Miss (a 23-17 loss) and Arkansas (14-13 win) the past two weeks.

“As an offense, we practiced hard, and we had one motto: be better than we were last week,” Sims said. “That’s something that happened for us. As a team, we listened to our leaders. Our leaders are starting to be more outspoken and we also listened to Coach Saban.”

Amari Cooper was back over the 100-yard mark in receiving for the fifth time this season with 140 yards on eight catches and two touchdowns. Through seven games this season, Cooper now has 62 catches for 908 yards and seven touchdowns.

T.J. Yeldon rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, and Derrick Henry added another touchdown and 70 more yards of the Crimson Tide’s 298 total on the ground.