Preview Alabama’s Home Opener Against Texas A&M
It’s been 312 days since a single fan has stepped into Bryant Denny stadium to watch the Crimson Tide play, and this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. central time that streak ends.
College Football is back in Tuscaloosa after a prolonged and tumultuous offseason, as the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0, 1-0) are set to play their home opener against the No. 13 Texas A&M Aggies (1-0, 1-0) in a newly-renovated Bryant Denny stadium.
It’s going to be a much different gameday experience in T-Town due to mandated COVID-19 protocols, with tailgating on the university grounds being prohibited and social distancing being enforced. Additionally, an estimated 20,000 people will be in attendance out of the stadium’s 100,077 seats available.
The Tide will enter Saturday on a seven-game win streak against the Aggies, most recently defeating them 47-28 in College Station last season.
“This is gonna be a much more challenging game for us, they are a good all around team,” Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban said during Monday’s press conference. “It’s gonna be necessary for us to make a significant amount of improvements and play for 60 minutes in this game because of the type of team we are playing against.”
Last Saturday, the Tide earned a 38-19 win against Missouri in which the offense racked up 414 total yards through the efforts of quarterback Mac Jones and running back Najee Harris. The tandem in total accounted for all five of the Tide’s touchdowns.
This week, they will be matched up against a deeper and more experienced Texas A&M defense that returns eight starters from last year, including First Team All-SEC defensive lineman Bobby Brown and Second-team All SEC Safety Demani Richardson. The Aggies defense is already off to a good start, holding Vanderbilt to 12 points and 255 total yards last week.
“They really do a good job of stopping the run, their safety plays a huge part in stopping the run game too,” Harris said Monday. “Everybody on that team is a person that we can’t not include in the game plan.”
On defense, senior linebacker Dylan Moses led the charge in keeping Missouri to six points through the first three quarters. Missouri scored two late fourth quarter touchdowns as backups started to trickle in, however, overall it was a promising defensive performance by the Tide.
They are going to have their hands full come gametime on Saturday, as they are facing Texas A&M senior quarterback Kellen Mond and sophomore running back Isaiah Spiller, both Second Team ALL-SEC selections. In addition, they return most of the starters along their offensive line. The Aggies will be missing a key piece of their offense on Saturday however, as senior wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon opted out of the 2020 season earlier this month.
“(Mond) is a great quarterback, he can scramble outside the pocket and he keeps his eyes downfield when he scrambling, so that makes him even more tough.” Alabama safety Jordan Battle said Monday.
The Tide open as -17.5 favorites over the Aggies with an over/under of 51 points. Fans can choose to watch the broadcast at 2:30 p.m. CT on CBS or tune in to Eli Gold’s call of the game on Tide 100.9.