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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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Aggies roll Tide


Tight end Jalen Wydermyer running through the end zone after scoring a touchdown, his first of the game.

Saturday was an upset nobody expected.
Texas A&M football defeated then-No. 1 University of Alabama in front of a sold-out Kyle Field on Saturday, Oct. 9 with 106,815 fans in attendance. The last time A&M defeated the Crimson Tide was in the 2012 upset in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s previous record against his former assistant coaches was 24-0, with Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher recording the first-ever victory over his former boss.
While the win is great, Fisher said he will not be fully satisfied until he sees how his team performs throughout the rest of the season.
“We can be special. Our football team is learning to play against other great football teams and have success. That’s what matters to me,” Fisher said. “It shows a lot of character, and it shows a lot of belief in themselves. It shows a lot of belief in their teammates.”
At halftime, Alabama went into the locker room trailing on the scoreboard for the first time since Oct. 17, 2020, when the Tide took on Georgia in an eventual 41-24 victory over the Bulldogs. For the Aggies, it all came down to the fourth quarter, with A&M only leading by one touchdown, 31-24.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Zach Calzada found his groove. With the 12th Man behind him, the signal caller led the Aggies to score in all three possessions during the first quarter. Additionally, Calzada was 10 for 10 before throwing an interception in the middle of the second quarter.
“There is not a harder position in sports to play than quarterback,” Fisher said. “[I’m] very proud of Zach. He’s a high-character young man. He cares, and it matters to him.”
For the ground game, junior running back Isaiah Spiller and sophomore running back Devon Achane stole the show. Spiller ran for 46 yards and one touchdown. One highlight of the night for the maroon and white was Achane’s 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Achane said he was in disbelief with the amount of open green available to him.
“I couldn’t believe it because the hole was so big,” Achane said. “After scoring that, the feeling was just amazing. It gave us a lot of momentum. It was a big opportunity for us.”
The Aggies’ defense shined just as bright as their offense.
Junior safety Demani Richardson recorded an endzone interception in the first quarter. Senior linebacker Aaron Hansford served as the defensive leader for the maroon and white, posting nine total tackles. Alabama’s sophomore quarterback Bryce Young became the most sacked quarterback in the SEC, getting sacked a total of four times.
Further marking their lockdown prowess, the Aggies held the Crimson Tide to a field goal in the fourth quarter.
Senior defensive lineman Tyree Johnson said the defense put a priority on physicality in this week’s game plan.
“We wanted to make an emphasis on being physical,” Johnson said. “We wanted to just do the best we could to out-physical them. It wasn’t an easy challenge; we just had to keep going for four quarters.”
In May, Fisher promised he was going to “beat [Saban’s] ass.” Now that he has, Fisher said he still maintains the utmost respect for him.
Saturday’s game also marked the first time the Aggies have ever defeated Alabama in Kyle Field. The last time the Tide was rolled in Texas was during the Tide’s Paul “Bear” Bryant era in 1968 at the Cotton Bowl.
Alabama took its second lead of the game in the fourth quarter, scoring a 7-yard touchdown reception with just over five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The Tide made the decision to go for a successful 2-point conversion, making it a 38-31 game.
In the following drive, A&M scored a touchdown, with senior place-kicker Seth Small notching the extra point. Following the play, Calzada went down, but returned shortly after for the offensive drive. The spirit of the 12th Man lifted the signal caller’s energy and allowed him to tough out the injury, coming in for the following offensive drive, Fisher said.
“That atmosphere and environment tonight, if you don’t want to play in that, there’s something wrong with you,” Fisher said. “That right there, the recruits and the people and the love, that’s as good of an atmosphere as there is in college football, bar none.”
The drive was worth it and allowed Small to get into range and kick the winning 28-yard field goal, cementing the Aggies’ 41-38 upset with fans storming the field in celebration.
Small said he loved seeing the 12th Man storm the field following his field goal.
“It felt like 100,000 were on the field with us all night,” Small said. “The 12th Man was with us all night. We have the best fans in the nation, and that’s what makes it so special to play at Kyle Field.”
The Aggies are now ranked No. 21 in the AP Poll and No. 18 in the Coaches’ Poll. A&M’s next opponent is Missouri, with the 11 a.m. face-off set for Oct. 16.

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