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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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5 Things to know before Alabama-Texas A&M

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Texas A&M’s sold out game against No. 1 Alabama threatens to result in an unheard of three game losing streak for the Aggies. 

Alabama is typically Texas A&M’s toughest opponent, and this year it’s no different. Here are five things to know ahead of the matchup:

Sold-out dates

The Aggies have always had an advantage on their home turf. Aggieland, and its football stadium, is known for being one of the noisiest and toughest places to play in all of college football.

“Kyle Field is one of the greatest,” Mississippi State coach Mike Leach said. “I’d be willing to hear your list — if you wanted to offer it — of better stadiums to play, but if this is below the top five, I mean, you’re going to have to get another line of work.”

A&M is expected to be sold out, and the university even extended ticket-pull ahead of the game for students. There have been questions regarding the maturity of the student section from some fans, but the stands have done well at being loud and disruptive to opposing teams. Miss. St. had a couple of miscues in the fourth quarter that can be attributed to crowd noise; if the maroon and white want to beat Alabama, they will need to do just that and more.

Saturdays to Sundays

NFL scouts will look back at this game’s tape when evaluating talent in the spring as both teams are filled with potential NFL players. The battle to watch will be between A&M’s defensive line, led by junior DeMarvin Leal, and Alabama’s offensive line, led by junior Evan Neal. Both players project to be potential first-round picks, so the fight along the line will be important to watch.

Some key offensive players include running backs Isaiah Spiller, an A&M junior, and Brian Robinson Jr., an Alabama senior, as well as pass catchers John Metchie III, an Alabama junior, and Jalen Wydermyer, an A&M junior. All the talent will make the game exciting to watch.

Eight straight

Texas A&M has not beat Alabama since Nov. 10, 2012, when Heisman-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel and the Aggies marched into Tuscaloosa, Ala., and took down the top ranked team in the nation. The Crimson Tide have been ranked in the top-10 every year the two teams have faced as SEC opponents, and this is the first time since 2017 that the Aggies have gone into the matchup unranked. A&M has lost eight straight games against the Crimson Tide, and this year will certainly be no easier.

“Every game to us, as a player, should be the same. Your opponents are faceless,” A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said. “We have to go get a good plan and we have to practice it and we have to perfect it during the week and we have to execute it on Saturday.”

Scoring in bunches

The Crimson Tide currently sits at third in the nation in points per game, averaging about 45. In Week 5, it faced off with Ole Miss, who ranks fifth in the nation in scoring, and beat the Rebels 42-21. On the other hand, A&M only averages about 23 points per game, a mark Alabama has only allowed defensively once through five games. The Aggies have not yet scored double-digit points in a quarter against Power Five competition, which could spell trouble for them this week.

Struggles in execution have plagued the A&M offense and defense in recent weeks. The Aggies need to score quickly and often to keep up with the Tide. All the details have to be done right for the Aggies to be successful, Wydermeyer said.

“Somebody making the wrong step, or the wrong read or their hat placement in the wrong place, I feel like we’re that close to making big plays down the field,” Wydermyer said. “When we put them together, that’s when you see the big runs, that’s when you see Jalen Preston’s big catch.”

Three’s a crowd

The Aggies are facing a potential slide unheard of in recent history. Under coach Fisher, the A&M football team has yet to lose three consecutive games. After going on an 11-game win streak across the 2020 and 2021 seasons, the team is in danger of incurring that third straight loss.

The Aggies have not lost three straight games since falling to LSU in the regular season closer, Kansas State in the Texas Bowl and UCLA in the season opener between the 2016 and 2017 seasons under former A&M coach Kevin Sumlin. Even further, the Aggies have not lost three games consecutively within the same season since their 2014 season under Sumlin.

After a historic win streak came to a close against Arkansas in Week 4, a losing streak could be demoralizing for both the program and fans who have not grown accustomed to it over recent years.

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