CW / Davida Franklin
The Crimson Tide fell for the trap.
Inside an electric Kyle Field, Alabama football was defeated by the Texas A&M Aggies, 41-38. The Crimson Tide falls to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in conference play.
Before the season, many circled this game as the one Alabama could lose. Both teams had top recruiting classes. Texas A&M had a historic 2020 season. Alabama won the national championship.
Saban knew the type of team the Crimson Tide would face in College Station.
“I think this is a very challenging game that we have coming up against a very good team,” head coach Nick Saban said. “This is a very challenging place to play. Jimbo [Fisher] does a great job getting his teams ready to play.”
After two consecutive losses, the Aggies prepared for the top-ranked Crimson Tide and came out of the gate firing on all cylinders.
On their opening drive of the game, the Aggies marched down the field. Texas A&M quarterback Zach Calzada completed all three of his passes. The drive resulted in a 38-yard field goal by kicker Seth Small. The Crimson Tide trailed for the first time this season.
Alabama, however, answered back.
The Crimson Tide drove down the field, racking up three first downs. Their opening drive resulted in a 20-yard touchdown scored by running back Roydell Williams.
It seemed like Alabama would roll over yet another opponent, but the Aggies had other plans.
Following that first drive, Alabama had a fumble, an interception and a punt. The Aggies scored on their first three drives. Calzada went 7-for-7 on his first seven passes and threw two touchdowns.
At halftime, the Crimson Tide was down 24-10. The Crimson Tide trailed at halftime for the first time since Georgia in 2020. The Crimson Tide trailed the Bulldogs 24-20 at halftime in that game.
Despite their first-half struggles, Alabama still had a chance to turn the game in their favor.
Alabama received the second-half kickoff. Their first two drives were punts, but Alabama scored two touchdowns and two field goals on the next four drives.
Slowly, the pendulum shifted in Alabama’s favor. The Crimson Tide took a 38-31 lead late in the fourth quarter. With five minutes left in regulation, the Aggies had to respond.
The Aggies scored a touchdown to tie the game with three minutes left in the game. Alabama went three-and-out on their final drive. The Crimson Tide left just over two minutes on the clock.
That was enough time for Calzada to drive the Aggies down the field.
The Aggies drove 54 yards to the Alabama 11. Smith kicked the game-winning 22-yard field goal, and the Aggies took down the Crimson Tide.
“Obviously, this is a very disappointing loss,” Saban said.
Despite outgaining the Aggies in total offensive yards, 522-379, the offense struggled to finish drives. Alabama was 50% on the day on third-down conversions. Alabama punted the ball four times, and quarterback Bryce Young was sacked four times.
On Alabama’s last drive, Young’s first pass was broken up. His second slipped out of the hands of tight end Jahleel Billingsley.
“They made the plays that they needed to make to win the game,” Saban said. “We didn’t make the plays we needed to make to win the game.”
Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher is the first former assistant to defeat Saban.
The Aggies ended Alabama’s 100-game winning streak over unranked opponents. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish now has the longest streak at 36.
Alabama travels to Starkville, Mississippi, on Oct. 16 to face the Mississippi State Bulldogs.