The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

4 takeaways from A&M’s loss against No. 1 Alabama

Photo by Robert O’Brien

Freshman TE Donovan Green (18) celebrates after completing a touchdown pass during Texas A&M’s game against the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The last play
After a huge defensive stop by the maroon and white defense, the Aggies were granted one last opportunity to make something out of nothing.
1:50 still left on the clock. Fisher had no timeouts remaining and had to trust in his young receiving core, injured and fatigued offensive line and a quarterback who hasn’t started a game since the loss to Appalachian State.
King showed the strength in his character and rallied his team 69 yards down the Crimson Red field and set them up for one last play with 3 seconds left and a chance to take down Goliath … Again.
King dropped back in the pocket, glanced to the right side of the field at the 5-star freshman who has played remarkably up to that point and wared back and threw it.
“The kids played a good two-minute drive,” A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said. “It was a good read. We just didn’t execute what we needed to do. But the decision was right where we were going.”
The Aggies fell short 24-20 in Tuscaloosa and despite not bringing home a win, brought back something bigger than any trophy.
“There’s no such thing as moral victories,” Fisher said. “It just shows you what we are capable of and how we can play and the things we can do.”
A shiny new scheme
Defensive coordinator DJ Durkin walked into Bryant-Denny Stadium with a playbook in his back pocket that the 12th Man and opposing offenses haven’t seen all season long.
On Oct. 1, Durkin placed his defensive linemen in a formation that displayed three men against a five-man offensive front. This was proven to be ineffective against the Bulldogs as the Aggies were only able to record three tackles for loss, five quarterback hurries, zero sacks and overall no damage in the backfield.
Today, A&M recorded 10 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and four sacks.
The maroon and white defense battled drive after drive to give their teammates a chance to produce points on the offensive side of the ball. Defenders such as senior defensive back Demani Richardson, sophomore defensive back Jardin Gilbert and sophomore defensive lineman Fadil Diggs sat at the top of the statistical ranking for the Aggies and fit perfectly into Durkin’s scheme.
Take advantage of your opportunities
With the lack of seconds available last week for junior quarterback Max Johnson and sophomore quarterback Haynes King, wide receivers did not have much time to create separation from their individual corners and make plays.
Freshman wide receivers Chris Marshall and Evan Stewart filled their roles as leaders and star players a whole lot sooner than many expected. The two played lights out against Alabama, and despite losing, should keep their heads high as they took another step at becoming elite collegiate receivers. The two had a combined 11 receptions for 146 yards and multiple first downs.
Learning from their past mistakes and the drops they had last week helped them take advantage of the opportunities they had this week, Fisher said.
“It’s a part of growth,” Fisher said. “It’s a part of growth and how things go and what happens.”
Sophomore wideout Moose Muhammad III has also carried with him the same intensity to Tuscaloosa, Ala., that he had in Starkville, Miss. Muhammad finished the game with six receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown.
Can you Digg it?
With the offense struggling to find any momentum in the first half, someone needed to step up defensively and create plays in order to spark a fire under the caboose of the maroon and white offense.
This sophomore defensive lineman from New Jersey did exactly that.
Fadil Diggs created two stripped sacks that put the A&M offense into good field position on both occurrences, creating 14 points off these turnovers. He also accumulated three tackles for loss and two additional tackles in the first half alone.
Practicing and watching film helped prepare him for this game against Alabama, Diggs said.
“Just good preparation through the week,” Diggs said. “We came into this game with a chip on our shoulders. A lot of the things we saw on film we took advantage of and brought with us into the game.”
At the end of the game, Diggs had six tackles, four sacks and three tackles for loss and was a menace to the opposing quarterback.

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