In front of a near record crowd in College Station, Texas, the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide dispensed with the No. 24 Aggies of Texas A&M, 47-28. The machine that is Alabama’s offense continued to roll. Here are a few of quick takeaways in the immediate aftermath of the win:
The Alabama Crimson Tide continues to redefine what a ball control offense looks like. Beginning with the Tide’s first offensive possession, the game never felt in doubt. That’s what happens when you have a quarterback and an offensive unit in nearly perfect sync. Ball control has forever meant squeezing the air out of the ball with a strong running game and owning time of possession. Leading comfortably at halftime 24-13, Alabama’s time of possession was only 12:29, compared to 17:31 for Texas A&M, with 37 yards rushing. Yet, throughout the entire game, A&M had no answer for Alabama’s precision passing game.
Hello, Terrell Lewis. Speaking of not having any answers, A&M had none for Lewis. The Crimson Tide pass rush showed up today. And Lewis was the most active of the bunch. He finished the game with two sacks and was constantly in the backfield, including two more quarterback hurries.
Jaylen Waddle earned every one of his 176 all-purpose yards. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian’s approach to controlling the ball through the passing game (see above) was seen on the first touchdown to Jaylen Waddle. On 3rd and 7, Alabama went 5-wide and hit Waddle on a high percentage wide receiver screen that Waddle took to the endzone. In addition to his touchdown reception, he had 128 yards on punt returns – each time threatening to score.
The schedule sets up well for the Crimson Tide. With its next two opponents at home and each in the middle of dreadful seasons, Alabama should be in pretty good shape coming off its bye week to face LSU. Tennessee limps into the third week of October with a 2-4 record and a season of turmoil beginning with its opening week loss to Georgia State. Arkansas, the Tide’s opponent the following week, currently holds a 2-3 record and remains winless in the SEC.
Nitpicks. There were a couple of busts in the secondary as a result of defensive backs not being disciplined with their eyes. One of those busts resulted in an A&M touchdown reception to the tight end. And of course, there’s the field goal kicking. Joseph Bulovas had two made tries doink off the goal post and another which was blocked.
Texas A&M still has not established its identity under Jimbo Fisher. There has been a fair amount of talk that 2020 will set up to be A&M’s breakthrough year under Jimbo Fisher. Maybe. But a season and a half into his tenure there we still do not have a good sense of how his program is going to fit into the pecking order of the SEC West. Fisher is a proven top-tier coach in college football. However, expectations are different when you sign a $75 million guaranteed contract. Quarterback Kellen Mond seems to have hit his ceiling. That’s not a great sign for Mond who has suffered from inconsistency. It’s also not a good sign for Fisher’s 2020 plan given that Mond returns next year for one more season of eligibility. Alabama head coach Nick Saban is now 18-0 against his former assistants.