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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 watch for during A&M-Alabama

Photo by Meredith Seaver

Senior quarterback Kellen Mond had two of the five fumbles during the Vanderbilt game.

Last Saturday, Texas A&M earned its first victory of the season by defeating Vanderbilt 17-12 at Kyle Field. This week, the maroon and white will travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to face the Crimson Tide, currently ranked No. 2 in the AP poll. Alabama is coming into this matchup after a 38-19 victory over Missouri last week. Here are five things to consider as the Aggies take on Alabama:

1. A&M-Alabama history

The Aggies have not been victorious over the Tide since A&M’s first year in the SEC. Alabama leads the all-time series 10-2 and will have the home-field advantage this weekend as the Aggies travel to Bryant-Denny stadium. CBS will be televising the game and have deemed Alabama a 16.5-point favorite. However, an upset cannot be ruled out, as the season’s unprecedented circumstances could make for an exciting game.

2. A&M’s run game

Running the ball and finding success on early downs will be imperative to A&M’s offense. Sophomore running back Isaiah Spiller recorded 117 yards on the ground in last week’s game against the Commodores — the fifth 100-yard rushing game of his career. Utilizing Spiller and sophomore running back Ainias Smith to monopolize A&M’s time of possession could be a critical factor in the game, and it may allow the Aggies to keep up with Alabama’s elite offense.

3. Aggie defense

A&M’s defense is on an upward trajectory and is beginning to prove itself worthy of the term “Wrecking Crew” once again. Last week against Vanderbilt, the maroon and white held the Commodores to 255 yards with an average of 3.8 yards per play, the second of any Power Five school. The defense is led by senior linebackers Buddy Johnson and Aaron Hansford, who each recorded 11 tackles in the season opener. Other defensive veterans include defensive backs Leon O’Neal Jr., Demani Richardson, Myles Jones and Keldrick Carper, who will be crucial against Alabama’s stacked roster of wide receivers, including junior Jaylen Waddle. 

4. Bobby Brown III

Junior defensive tackle Bobby Brown III was once briefly committed to the Crimson Tide. The former four-star recruit initially committed to A&M, only to de-commit and commit to Alabama two days later. Brown flipped back to A&M on National Signing Day and appeared in all 13 games of his freshman and sophomore seasons as an Aggie. Brown contributed three stops and had a quarterback hurry last week against the Commodores. With Alabama’s arsenal of running backs, Brown and other defensive linemen will have to consistently pressure the Tide’s offense to prevent them from quickly driving downfield.

5. Minimizing mistakes

The Aggies struggled with ball security and penalties in the season opener. The team accumulated eight penalties, costing them 50 yards with one resulting in a safety. A&M also overcame three turnovers, two of which were fumbles by senior quarterback Kellen Mond. However, Alabama is a more physical, technical and talented team than Vanderbilt, which is all the more reason for the Aggies to execute precision and incredible discipline in their matchup this week. A&M cannot afford costly mistakes such as fumbles and interceptions. If the Aggies want to stand a chance against the Tide, winning turnover battles is a must.

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