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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’s developing offense to clash against Alabama’s forceful defense

Texas+A%26amp%3BMs+offense+will+face+a+dominant+Alabama+defensive+line+on+Saturday%2C+Oct.+1+in+Kyle+Field+with+kickoff+set+for+7+p.m.%26%23160%3B
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Texas A&M’s offense will face a dominant Alabama defensive line on Saturday, Oct. 1 in Kyle Field with kickoff set for 7 p.m. 

Through the highs and lows of every Texas A&M football season, there is one roadblock the Aggies face every year, and its name is Alabama.
On Saturday, Oct. 9, A&M will face its most challenging opponent of the year — No. 1 Alabama. A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher and offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey will be put to the test against Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s powerful defense, coordinated by Pete Golding.
From starting off the season ranked No. 5 to being kicked out of the AP poll in five games, A&M’s inconsistencies on offense have started to define the team. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Zach Calzada was thrown into the fire early in the season, and has put in his best efforts to follow Fisher’s lead and perform as expected. But his young offensive line has yet to give him many opportunities to do so. Calzada has been sacked 13 times and holds the worst record for yards-per-attempt in the SEC.
“I think [Calzada] is learning and growing,” Fisher said. “He is getting better and better each play, I think he believes in himself wholeheartedly and our players believe in him.”
When utilized, A&M’s running game consistently performs, with its two main attackers combining for a current season total 741 yards and four touchdowns.
Running backs junior Isaiah Spiller and sophomore Devon Achane play with speed and power, and they know how to slip out of tackles.
“Isaiah and Achane, and even Ainias [Smith], break so many tackles,” junior tight end Jalen Wydermeyer said. “I don’t know how they do it.”
Weapons like Wydermeyer and junior wide receiver Ainias Smith provide versatility in A&M’s passing scheme. On average, Wydermeyer registers 11.7 yards per catch while Smith is right behind with 10 yards per attempt. These two veteran leaders have displayed to inexperienced A&M receivers how to make plays, and when given the ball, they are a force that Alabama’s defense will have to bring to a stop.
Alabama’s pressurizing and athletic defense shutout Ole Miss’ then-top scoring offense in the first half and swung the momentum of the game in its favor.
A pair of linebackers guide Alabama’s defense with junior Henry To’oTo’o documenting 35 total tackles and sophomore Will Anderson Jr. right behind at 33. Additionally, senior defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis has 3.5 sacks and will try to find ways through and around A&M’s offensive front to get to Calzada. The Crimson Tide allows around three yards per rush attempt and about seven yards per pass attempt.
With that kind of resume of domination, it will be hard for anyone this year to put numbers up against Alabama. The 4 and 5-star athletes Saban recruited have grown into his program and turned into college football standouts, allowing less than five yards per attempt.
“Each and every week, it’s [the defensive line’s] job to get better and better,” Alabama junior defensive lineman Justin Eboigbe said. “One of the jobs we have is to stop the run and make the team one-dimensional. We are playing to affect the quarterback and the runners in the backfield.”

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