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The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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5 Takeaways from A&M-Alabama

Senior+tight+end+Ryan+Renick+scored+one+of+Texas+A%26amp%3BMs+touchdowns.
Courtesy of Craig Bisacre/Texas A&M Athletics

Senior tight end Ryan Renick scored one of Texas A&M’s touchdowns.

No. 13 Texas A&M fell to the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide 52-24 in its first road game of the season. Here’s what we learned:
Early momentum quickly cut short
Despite the final score, A&M was tied with Alabama at 14 at the beginning of the second quarter of Saturday’s game. Alabama senior running back Najee Harris pulled the Crimson Tide away from the tie with a two-yard rushing touchdown.
A&M’s leading rusher for the Aggies during the first two quarters was sophomore running back Ainias Smith, with 31 yards. Smith and senior tight end Ryan Renick put the Aggies on the board with one touchdown each.
In the second half, the Aggies were unable to get as many points on the board as they did in the first, only managing to score 10. However, the Aggies continued to rack up yards on the ground and finished the game with six more rushing yards than Alabama.
A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said the team needs to do better on offense.
“We need to learn to be more efficient on offense,” Fisher said. “We had some opportunities, [I’m] disappointed we didn’t do it but there is still a lot to work with.
Ainias Smith
Smith was a highlight for the Aggies in their first road game of the season and is quickly becoming an offensive weapon. Against Vanderbilt, he was a key rusher with the second most rushing yards, with 54. Against Alabama, he had two receiving touchdowns, 29 rushing yards and a team-high 123 receiving yards.
Despite being an offensive leader for the team, Smith also made a critical error. On a fourth-and-2 while the Aggies were down 28-14 in the second quarter, Smith dropped a pass from Mond, ending a key drive and giving Alabama possession on their 35-yard line. Senior quarterback Kellen Mond said the error was uncharacteristic for Smith.
“Ainias is one of our best players,” Mond said. “I know he is going to be hard on himself and he’s going to come back better next week.”
Mond vs. King
Mond had a decent performance against Alabama. He threw one touchdown, accumulated 318 passing yards and rushed for 19 yards. However, Mond was also sacked once, and Alabama redshirt junior defensive back Daniel Wright had an interception for a touchdown with 6:19 left in the second quarter to put the Crimson Tide up 28-14. On A&M’s final drive, Fisher put freshman quarterback Haynes King in to conclude the game for the Aggies. In one offensive drive, King took over as the Aggies’ leading rusher with 43 yards. However, King did throw an interception in the endzone.
Fisher said the team needs to work on making every play count, especially with deep throws from Mond.
“We had some deep balls, we had a chance,” Fisher said. “And a couple times we had to flush it out and throw it away. Offensively too when you get in those games, every play can matter.”
A defensive setback
After A&M’s defense put up a solid performance against Vanderbilt, the Crimson Tide’s offense proved to be too much for the Aggies. A&M held Vanderbilt to 105 rushing and 150 passing yards last week, but Alabama was able to garner 544 total yards of offense against the Aggies.
In addition, Alabama redshirt junior quarterback Mac Jones was not sacked once during the entire game.
Senior linebacker Buddy Johnson said despite the score, the defense remained competitive.
“I think we competed with those guys, no matter what the score was,” Johnson said. “We fought [until] the very end… we were right there with them and think we got lost in the moment. We just need to keep our composure and keep fighting.”
Stepping up the receiving game
In the Aggies’ season opener against Vanderbilt, the A&M offense struggled without key receivers as it was only able to accumulate 189 receiving yards during the game. Against Alabama, the receivers had a bit of a boost in performance. The Aggies managed a total of 335 receiving yards. Seven different players recorded catches during the game, with Smith leading the way with 123 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore tight end Jalen Wydermyer followed with 82 receiving yards, and freshman wide receiver Chase Lane had 62. While the receiving game improved since the season opener against Vanderbilt, there were still 19 incompletions.
Mond said better communication among the offense will minimize mistakes.
“Us being on the same page and just those small details that I always talk about within the offense,“ Mond said. “I think that goes to everybody on the offensive line, running backs and also receivers. I think that was such a huge part when it comes to Alabama.”

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