Nick Saban has proven that he is not afraid to open the season against a top school from a Power Five conference almost every year. He has been named defensive player of the week three times in five games by the Alabama coaching staff, the only player on the team to receive such honors. The most recent A&M win over the Tide came back in 2012 when Johnny Manziel was quarterback for the Aggies. The junior wide receiver is the definition of a playmaker, and has the ability to take it to the house every time he gets his hands on the ball. "They run the ball very effectively and they've got really good running backs". He has rushed for 376 yards for the season, averaging 8.4 yard per carry with a team-best six touchdowns.
Top-ranked Alabama travels to Kyle Field to meet Texas A&M on Saturday in a matchup of teams that haven't yet lost in SEC play this season.
Alabama holds a 7-2 series lead against Texas A&M and has won four straight. The Crimson Tide have generally ended up beating the Aggies, but the hype is always there. That will pay off this weekend against Texas A&M because the Crimson Tide will be without one of their top defensive players. "We'll see what happens Saturday". He passed for 159 yards and ran for a team-high 95 in the win over SC. When Saban was the coach at Michigan State, he said "we had a very, very hard time" with Tiller's teams. The Crimson Tide is fresh off a 66-3 victory over Ole Miss last week, its biggest win since 1979.
An even bigger concern for the Aggies might be their inconsistent defense that's tasked with slowing down Alabama's multi-dimensional offense. With 20 sacks and a +8 turnover margin, A&M has shown some good things when they attack defensively and stick with it. Jalen Hurts hasn't really been turned loose yet this season, having thrown for only 157 yards a game - but he has 6 TD, 0 INT and leads the team with 461 rushing yards.
The Cowboys, on the other hand, have done exactly what they said they would do with their recruits.
Sumlin said, "Our emphasis on what we are doing is not going to change because of the opponent".
"So we've got to be more disciplined in what we're doing". Hurts is better this season at throwing the ball down the field on extended plays.
"This certainly is not the time to relax or be satisfied", Saban said. That could be trouble for a Texas A&M defense that will already be stretched thin by multiple responsibilities.
Tagovailoa have combined for nearly 1,000 yards through the air with 10 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. The nation's most dominating college football coaches uses something as stinky as childhood heartbreak to motivate his guys.
"Whatever happened in the hurricane happened and it's a bad thing and we want to support everybody in every way we can", Saban said.
The former Crimson Tide offensive coordinator was rushed out of the program at the end of previous year before the national title game, which Alabama went on to lose.