Posted September 15, 2013

Three and Out: No. 1 Alabama outlasts No. 6 Texas A&M in 49-42 shootout

Alabama Crimson Tide, Johnny Manziel, Kevin Sumlin, Nick Saban, SEC, Texas A&M Aggies
AJ McCarron

Crimson Tide QB AJ McCarron threw for four touchdowns in the win. (Thomas Campbell/USA Today Sports)

The hype for Saturday’s SEC West showdown dated all the way back to Texas A&M’s upset of Alabama last season, and the game between the Crimson Tide and the Aggles certainly proved to be worth the wait. Despite trailing 14-0 in the first quarter, top-ranked Alabama roared back to exact revenge on No. 6 Texas A&M 49-42.

The Aggies and the Crimson Tide have quickly forged a must-watch rivalry, and Saturday’s shootout was one for the books. Here are three quick takeaways from Alabama’s Week 3 victory:

Alabama is comfortable rallying from an early deficit. This matchup seemed to be heading the Aggies’ way out of the gate, when A&M raced to a two-touchdown lead less than eight minutes into first quarter. But the hostile atmosphere of Kyle Field and the early deficit did little to deter coach Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide. Alabama reeled off 35 straight points and held the Aggies scoreless until midway through the third quarter.

If that script sounds familiar, that’s because it is. In Texas A&M’s 29-24 win over the Tide in Tuscaloosa last season, the Aggies jumped to a 20-0 lead before ‘Bama stormed back to make the score 20-17. The difference this year was that the Tide rallied much earlier, setting the tone for a high-scoring victory.

Five different Alabama players reached the end zone as part of the team’s 35-point surge, including safety Vinnie Sunseri, whose 73-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter was his second pick-six in as many games. ‘Bama quarterback AJ McCarron also had a big day, thanks in part to an improving offensive line, which surrendered four sacks against Virginia Tech in Week 1 but kept a clean sheet against Texas A&M. The Tide showed they will bend but not break in the toughest of situations.

Both quarterbacks rose to the occasion. Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel might have gotten the best of McCarron last season in Tuscaloosa, but it was the ‘Bama signal-caller who left College Station with the victory this time around. McCarron completed 20-of-29 passes for 334 yards and four touchdowns, with no interceptions. Against A&M in 2012, he threw two picks, but he was mistake-free on Saturday, and he kept the Crimson Tide’s offense churning against a porous Aggies defense.

Manziel ripped Alabama’s secondary early — his first six completions went for 135 yards and a touchdown — and he helped Texas A&M stay alive late with two fourth-quarter touchdown passes, including a 95-yard bomb to wide receiver Mike Evans. Still, while Manziel racked up 562 total yards, he committed two costly miscues, throwing a pair of interceptions that led directly to Crimson Tide touchdowns: In the second quarter, ‘Bama scored only four plays after cornerback Cyrus Jones intercepted Manziel in the end zone; and Sunseri’s pick-six in the third quarter gave the Tide a 35-14 lead.

Manziel torched the Alabama’s vaunted secondary for most of the afternoon, but he likely won’t soon forget his two interceptions — especially the one he threw to Jones in the end zone — which would have given the Aggies a 21-14 lead.

Defense? What defense? This game was certainly fun to watch, but it was even more astounding on the stat sheet. Among the highlights:

– Texas A&M wide receiver Evans had 279 receiving yards on seven catches, an average of 39.9 yards per reception.

– The Aggies’ 42 points were the most allowed by Alabama under Saban.

– The Crimson Tide and Texas A&M combined for 62 first downs (31 apiece).

– Manziel’s 464 passing yards were the most by a quarterback against Alabama since LSU’s Rohan Davey threw for 528 yards against the Tide on Nov. 3, 2001.

– Evans’ 95-yard fourth-quarter touchdown reception is second-longest pass play in Aggies history, behind only Randy McCown’s 96-yard pass to Chris Taylor in 1999.

– This was Alabama’s first victory when it had allowed 35 or points or more since it beat Arkansas 41-38 on Sept. 15, 2007.

What did you think of Saturday’s showdown? Let us know in the comments.

26 comments
Aggie79
Aggie79

Only one of those interceptions was Manziels fault. The second was the result of a blatant pass interference that the refs missed. I was at the game and the interference was right in front of me. Here is a link to watch it in slo-mo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEmv-lFlL1A

Hershiser88
Hershiser88

Envious SEC haters are going to hate.  LSU 9 Alabama 6 was the most boring game ever to them, but somehow Alabama 49 Texas A&M 42 was even worse in their minds.  Now, if it had been Oregon 49 USC 42, they would be calling for the game tape to be sent immediately to the hall of fame. 

btcvsolo
btcvsolo

Helluva game....

If memory serves, I predicted 'Bama by 7' a few days ago. Send all your money to me...immediately.


JT-Havinfun
JT-Havinfun

Well, Manziel lost.  I guess the NCAA can punish him now.

Mabeard19
Mabeard19

It was a good game. Manziel is a slippery s.o.b. I was waiting for him to get clobbered. Anyhow, there was a really bad call made late in the 4th quarter against Alabama. A horse collar.. Fine, call the facemask on Manziel too, I saw his fingers wrapped inside of the defenders facemask. It should have been off setting penalty's instead of giving Texas free yardage.

ProfessorGorilla
ProfessorGorilla

My earlier comment was deleted, probably because the moderator saw that I pointed out an error about when the Alabama/Texas A&M game was played last year and thought there was no need for the comment once the error was corrected.  That missed the question in the second half of my comment:

What is the largest number of points Alabama has given up in a winning football game?

If tonight's score was not a new record, it surely must be close.

Tacchan
Tacchan

I am no fan of Johnny Manziel, but dang he's an unbelievable player. 

kcostell
kcostell

All of the thrills and excitement you'd expect from a game between two evenly matched, decent mid-major teams. For two of the supposed top teams in the country, though, it was a disappointment.

Mabeard19
Mabeard19

@Hershiser88 SEC pwn's all other conferences. SEC will continue to dominate for years to come.


steelydan0613
steelydan0613

@Mabeard19 Well, there was a facemask on an Alabama defender early in the game that was clearly missed by the officials...........so enough with the missed calls, mcbeard............

Maestroh
Maestroh

@ProfessorGorilla Yes, the 42 points surrendered by Alabama is the most in a game they won. The previous record was 39, scored by Florida on October 2, 1999 in The Swamp. Note, however, that that game included a TD in overtime.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

@Tacchan Perhaps, but his two interceptions were probably the difference between his team winning and losing.

Also, he owes a lot of his stats to Evans.  In my mind Evans was the real star of the Aggie offense yesterday.  But of course Manziel is Manziel, so all attention beelines for him...

Mike26
Mike26

@Tacchan He also single-handedly turned momentum against his team in the 2nd quarter by throwing a terrible pick (both throw and decision) that help Alabammy run off 21 straight points.

DavidandTracyAgee
DavidandTracyAgee

@kcostell LOL.  You probably posted somewhere a few years back that the Bama and LSU games were disappointments because they were boring.  Your extreme bias is so obvious it is blinding.

ProfessorGorilla
ProfessorGorilla

@Mike26 @Tacchan To the extent that 7 points "helps" towards a total of 21, yes, but that was just a 7 point play.  More importantly, without Manziel, Texas A&M would not have been in the game.  With an average quarterback, they would have scored more like 21 points.  I don't like the way he showboats, and he's too much of a prima donna and parties too much, but he really is a once-in-a-lifetime QB for any program.

DavidandTracyAgee
DavidandTracyAgee

@Mike26 @DavidandTracyAgee @AaronDunckel @kcostell I agree Mike.  The point of my original comment was that I thought he would have had something negative to say no matter the outcome.  Like Auburn with Cam and Fairly (unblockable DT) TAMU has 2 players (Johnny and Mike Evans) who are just exceptional players that can change the game by themselves.  Not an excuse for Alabama's defense just an observation.  Pretty big difference between Beamer's offense and Sumlin's I guess.  I have to say I was very impressed with the discipline of the Bama DL.  It reminded me of the way they played LSU's option a few years back.