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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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A&M defense confident going into matchup against Alabama

Photo by Meredith Seaver

The Aggie defense celebrates a stop against Vanderbil.

To say the Texas A&M defense will need to have a big day on Saturday against the Alabama Crimson Tide is a bit of an understatement.
In the season opener against Vanderbilt, A&M’s defense had a dominant performance as it held the Commodores to 255 total offensive yards and had two sacks. Last week in Alabama’s first game of the season, their offense rolled over the Missouri Tigers with 405 total offensive yards.
Aside from having 405 total offensive yards, the Crimson Tide show a strong connection between redshirt junior quarterback Mac Jones and junior wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, who netted 134 yards on eight receptions. Jones had 249 offensive yards and two touchdowns.
In the post-game press conference for their season opener, Jones said his relationship with Waddle has translated to chemistry on the field.
“Waddle’s a great player,” Jones said. “He gets open. We have had a great relationship since he has stepped on campus. Even going back to seven-on-seven in the summer, the late nights, just getting that chemistry with him at the indoor facility.”
A&M and Alabama have had 12 matchups, dating back to 1942. The Crimson Tide currently leads the series 10-2. The last time the Aggies defeated Alabama was in 2012 during the Johnny Manziel era.
A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said the defensive line did its job against Vanderbilt.
“Defensive line-wise, for the most part, was very physical in the run game [and] did a very good job,” Fisher said.
A&M senior defensive tackle Jayden Peevy, who had six total tackles against the Commodores with 1.5 being tackles for loss said he is optimistic about how the defense will perform against Alabama’s offense.
“I’m very confident in my defense,” Peevy said. “We just got to go out there and practice hard today and this whole week to come out with a victory.”
Another offensive player for the Crimson Tide the Aggies will have to worry about in addition to Jones and Waddle is senior running back Najee Harris. In their last game against the Missouri Tigers, Harris scored three touchdowns and had 98 rushing yards.
Fisher said Alabama has great players all over the field that A&M will have to watch out for.
“They got good players everywhere,” Fisher said. “They’re all top guys. You got to play all the way across the board.”
Highlights for the A&M defense this year are senior linebacker Buddy Johnson, junior linebacker Aaron Hansford and graduate student defensive lineman Michael Clemons. Clemons had 1.5 sacks during the Aggies’ season opener for a total yard loss of 13. Johnson and Hansford led the way for the defense in tackles with 11 total tackles each.
The A&M defense showed it could persevere, as they held the Commodores to 12 points despite all of the turnovers. They need to keep this performance and mentality alive during a more challenging game against Alabama if the Aggies want to achieve their first victory over the Crimson Tide in eight years.
“Your battle is upfront and in the trenches because Alabama’s offensive and defensive lines are both very physical and very big and very experienced,” Fisher said. “I think that in those regards, we’re going to have our hands full.”

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