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For the second year in a row, Texas A&M gave Alabama more than they could handle, but this time, the Crimson Tide came out victorious. Alabama was without their Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Bryce Young, but was able to survive and beat the Aggies 24-20.
Here are some key takeaways from the game.
All season long, Alabama has had a turnover margin problem, mainly because of a lack of forced turnovers, but Saturday was because of a completely different problem.
The Crimson Tide turned the ball over four times, three lost fumbles and one interception that led to 17 points for Texas A&M. Quarterback Jalen Milroe was responsible for two of the three fumbles as well as an interception. Alabama was lucky to get away with a victory despite all the turnovers, and ball security will definitely be a main focus in practice this week.
The Alabama pass rush really came to play against Texas A&M. Dallas Turner had two of the three Crimson Tide sacks with Chris Braswell recording the third sack. Surprisingly, Will Anderson, Jr. did not record a sack for Alabama, but had a career-high eight quarterback hurries, one short of an Alabama record held by school legend Derrick Thomas. In a game where Alabama looked really sloppy, the pass rush unit looked sharp.
Things didn't go well for Jalen Milroe in his first career start at Alabama. Milroe accounted for a total of three turnovers, two fumbles, and an interception. Both of his fumbles resulted in short fields for the Texas A&M offense, which they ultimately cashed in for two touchdowns. Although Milroe did finish the game with three passing touchdowns, he only threw for 111 yards, the worst passing game Alabama has had this season. Milroe did provide a dynamic piece to the running game with 83 rushing yards on 17 carries.
Kicker Will Reichard had his worst game of the season, but fortunately, it didn’t cost Alabama the victory. Reichard hit only one of his three field goal attempts and made all three of his extra points. Texas A&M did a phenomenal job in the punting game by avoiding giving Kool-Aid McKinstry any opportunities to make big plays in the return game. The Aggies punted the ball seven times, and McKinstry only had one return for negative two yards. Special teams play will need to improve next week, especially if Bryce Young is unable to play.
For the second week in a row, Jahmyr Gibbs had a dominant performance in the running game. Gibbs ran the ball 21 times for 154 yards rushing. Over the Crimson Tide's last two contests, Gibbs has accounted for 360 yards on 39 carries. In the absence of Bryce Young, the Crimson Tide has really leaned on the shoulders of Gibbs and the rushing attack. Gibbs has been the difference maker in the past two games to help the Crimson Tide remain undefeated.
Alabama will have lots of things to clean up in practice this week and hopefully get a healthy Bryce Young back as they travel to Neyland Stadium to take on the #6 Tennessee Volunteers, a team that has never beaten a Nick Saban-coached Alabama team.
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