CW / Hannah Saad
Alabama football starts its two-game road stretch with a matchup against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field on Saturday. This is the second of three consecutive conference games for the Crimson Tide.
Before the 2021 season, Texas A&M was considered the only threat to the Crimson Tide’s title defense. That has drastically changed.
The Aggies have lost two consecutive games — both to conference opponents — and have fallen from seventh in the AP Top 25 rankings to unranked. This season is a stark contrast from last year, when the Aggies went 9-1 and finished the season No. 5.
Alabama has lived up to the preseason hype through the first five weeks of the season. The Crimson Tide defeated the Ole Miss Rebels 42-21 at Bryant-Denny Stadium last week. Alabama’s defense held the top-ranked Rebels’ offense to 291 total yards.
The Aggies had just six more total offensive yards against Mississippi State on Oct. 2.
Through the first five games of the season, head coach Jimbo Fisher’s offense lacked rhythm. Despite winning its first three games, the team struggled to move the ball down the field against Colorado. Against Mississippi State, the Aggies only had the ball for less than 25 minutes.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban is not underestimating his opponent.
“I think this is a very challenging game that we have coming up against a very good team,” Saban said on Monday. “These guys have 15 starters coming back from one of the best teams in the country last year. This is a very challenging place to play. Jimbo does a great job getting his teams ready to play.”
Preparation is key for the Aggies. The Aggies can ill afford to have a pedestrian offense against Alabama. The battle at the line of scrimmage will be very important for both teams Saturday night.
Despite giving up two sacks, Alabama’s offensive line kept the Rebels’ defensive front at bay. Running back Brian Robinson Jr. had 36 carries for 171 yards and four touchdowns. The control at the line of scrimmage allowed Alabama to move down the field methodically. It was something neither fans nor players expected.
“I didn’t expect to get 36 carries, but I’m grateful for the opportunity,” Robinson said.
On defense, Alabama got to quarterback Matt Corral three times and kept the Rebels to 78 rushing yards. Alabama, on both sides of the ball, controlled the tempo.
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin said it best after the game against Alabama.
“We got dominated up front,” Kiffin said.
It’s a tough task for any team to beat Alabama, whether at Bryant-Denny or away, but Fisher said his team is up to the task.
“Well, if we practice well and play well, then we will [win],” Fisher said. “We have to go get a good plan, we have to practice it, we have to perfect it during the week and then we have to execute it on Saturday.”
If the Aggies win, Fisher would become the first former assistant of Saban to defeat him. Saban’s record is now 24-0 after beating Kiffin and Ole Miss on Oct. 2.
The Aggies would also snap Alabama’s win streak over unranked opponents. Alabama earned its 100th consecutive victory against an unranked opponent when they beat Southern Mississippi on Sept. 25. Alabama is far ahead of the second-longest streak, Notre Dame, at 35 consecutive wins.
At 7 p.m. CT on Saturday, Kyle Field will be rocking because fans know how big this game can be.
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