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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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

A look ahead

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A look ahead

As Texas A&M prepares for its toughest test of the season yet, Battalion sports reporter Heath Clary offers five things to look forward to in this top-10 matchup.

1. How resilient A&M can be against an elite team like Alabama

Aside from a 28-21 win against Arkansas that should not have been such a close game, the Aggies have been on cruise control for most of the season. That will all change on Saturday, as Alabama will come to College Station looking to prove that it is still a playoff-caliber team despite losing earlier this year to Ole Miss. It is very likely that the Aggies will endure some adversity against the Crimson Tide, and it will be interesting to see how they respond.

2. The effect of the 12th Man

With an upper echelon SEC opponent coming to the new Kyle Field for the first time, the fanbase should be louder than ever. While the 12th Man is always loud, it might find an extra gear on Saturday, which spells trouble for the Crimson Tide and their first-year starting signal-caller Jake Coker.

3. If Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall can continue their dominance

The dynamic defensive end duo has been unstoppable so far this season with a combined 16 tackles loss and 12.5 sacks. If the Aggies can manage to contain running back Derrick Henry, then Garrett and Hall could be in for another productive day. It is critical that the Aggies keep the Tide in passing situations, which will allow Garrett and Hall to tee off on the opposing quarterback.

4. How Jake Spavital chooses to attack the Crimson Tide

Last year, nothing worked for the Aggie offense as they were demolished 59-0. This year’s offense looks much more dynamic, due in large part to the explosiveness of Christian Kirk as well as a more consistent quarterback in Kyle Allen. Look for the Aggies to try to establish a running game early with Tra Carson, which will open up the passing lanes later in the game. Alabama has proved to be vulnerable to the pass — Chad Kelly and Ole Miss torched them for 341 yards through the air — so the Aggies shouldn’t have any trouble putting up plenty of yards and points.

5. If Alabama can resurrect past success in big games

It used to be that on the biggest stage, the talent on the field and in the coaches’ booth could bring the Crimson Tide to victory in almost every situation. That has definitely not been the case recently, though, as Saban’s squad has gone a pedestrian 4-6 against teams ranked in the top 15 since winning the 2012 National Championship. The Aggies certainly fit that criteria, so it will be interesting to see if the Crimson Tide can flip that trend upside down.

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