When and where: October 12, 2019, Kyle Field, College Station, TX, 3:30 PM ET
Coming off a bye week, the Alabama Crimson Tide will return well-rested on Saturday for an SEC showdown on the road against the Texas A&M Aggies. It’ll be an interesting match-up pitting the Aggies defense against a Crimson Tide offense led by Heisman candidate Tua Tagovailoa, who has thrown for five-plus touchdowns in back-to-back games.
The Aggies are coming off a bounce-back victory over Arkansas after dropping a tough loss to Auburn. Quarterback Kellen Mond shined even in defeat to Auburn in a game where he threw for 335 yards and two touchdowns. He’ll try to have a repeat performance on Saturday against a banged-up Alabama defense. Of course, the Crimson Tide are still the No. 1-ranked team in the country with a perfect 5-0 record.
Alabama’s first crack at ranked oppositionSaturday’s game against the Aggies could be considered a serious measuring stick in many ways for the Crimson Tide, particularly with a pair of high-profile opponents like LSU and Auburn left on their schedule. Granted, Texas A&M has its fair share of problems, but Mond and the Aggies offense should provide a stiffer test than the Crimson Tide has seen against teams like Ole Miss and Southern Mississippi.
There have been serious concerns on the defensive side of the ball with so many injuries, but Alabama coach Nick Saban is college football’s version of Bill Belichick with a plug-and-play coaching style. He’s confident in his abilities to coach the next guy up to be prepared to step in on a moment’s notice. Well, that moment will arrive against a ranked opponent for the first time this season with Texas A&M.
Perhaps the biggest concern for the Crimson Tide entering this game is the potential absence of offensive lineman Chris Owens, who is listed as questionable with a knee injury. Receiver Henry Ruggs III also came up a bit gimpy in the win over Ole Miss. The engine of this Crimson Tide team is a healthy Tagovailoa throwing the football. They’ll need to keep the passing offense intact when throwing into the teeth of a defensive backfield giving up only 191.4 passing yards per game, which ranks fourth in the conference.
Mond must be sensationalIf the Aggies have any shot at pulling off an upset, Mond is going to have to put forth the best offensive performance of his life. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility against an Alabama defense that isn’t as buttoned up as the units we’ve seen under Saban in the past. They are giving up an average of 325.4 total yards per game, which ranks sixth in the conference, and a fourth-worst 61.2 yards per game in penalties.
Mond, who is a dual-threat at quarterback, can put some serious stress on Alabama’s banged-up linebackers by threatening to use his legs as much as his arm. The Crimson Tide have traditionally relied on big, powerful linebackers that haven’t held up well against mobile quarterbacks.
This isn’t a scenario calling on Mond to suddenly morph into Deshaun Watson, but if he takes care of the football and continues to move the chains on third down, the Aggies will be able to keep Tagovailoa on the sidelines and increase their chances of winning.
“But we’re going to have our work cut out, and we need to go play well," said Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher. "In saying all that, if we go play our game, do the things we do and that’s what we can control. And that’s how we’ve got to play, but we’re going to have to play well in all three phases against a great team, the No. 1 team in the country, so it should be a great opportunity for us.”
- Crimson Tide are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Aggies are 7-19 ATS in their last 26 games in October.
- Aggies are 7-19 ATS in their last 26 games following a bye week.
- Aggies are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 conference games.