Texas A&M Aggies
In what should be no surprise to anyone who was at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was named the SEC’s offensive player of the week for his big performance in the Aggies’ 29-24 upset of No. 1 Alabama. Manziel accounted for 345 total yards in the victory, completing 24 of 31 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 92 yards on 18 carries. Already the SEC’s leading rusher, Manziel became the second freshman in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision history to rush for 1,000 yards or more and pass for 2,000 or more in a single season, joining former Missouri star Brad Smith, who did it in 2002.
The Alabama Crimson Tide suffered their first loss of the 2012 at the hands of the Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies. Coming off of their dramatic 4th quarter victory over LSU in Death Valley the previous week, there were concerns that Alabama could suffer a let down. These concerns proved to be relevant as both the offense and defense of Alabama appeared to start the game dazed and confused for the entire 1st quarter. By the time they shook off the rust Texas A&M had already established an insurmountable lead. Final Score: 24-29
In this analysis we learn how the Crimson Tide fell to the Texas A&M Aggies. The circumstances surrounding this game amounted to a perfect storm with Alabama’s exciting and emotionally draining victory at LSU having sapped all of the life out of Crimson Tide before the game even got under way. By the time Bama’s players had awoken from their slumber they were down 20-0. This ended up being more than they could overcome.
The Alabama Crimson Tide appeared to be suffering the effects of their dramatic last minute win at LSU last weekend in Death Valley. With Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M coming to Tuscaloosa, this was hardly the time to be in any kind of a vulnerable state. Manziel exploding to begin the game leading the Aggies to touchdowns on their first three drives. This proved to be too much for the hungover tide to recover from. Final score: 24-29
It seemed to take the entire first quarter for Alabama to shake off the hangover from their last minute thriller in LSU the prior week. But by that time Texas A&M had already scored 3 unanswered touchdowns. Alabama came back but was never able to take the lead. Two drives late in the fourth quarter ended in turnovers by a TJ Yeldon fumble deep in Aggies territory and a McCarron interception on the goal line on fourth down. Had either drive ended in a touchdown, Alabama would have taken the lead with momentum in their favor and little time remaining for the Aggies to respond. Alabama can still capture the SEC West Title and clench a birth in the SEC Championship with a win over Auburn in the Iron Bowl. In addition Alabama is not entirely out of BCS championship consideration just yet either.
If the University of Alabama’s offense exposed then-undefeated Mississippi State defensively in a 38-7 win two weeks ago, Texas A&M introduced an entirely new definition for the term ‘exposed’ a week later. The Crimson Tide is completing preparations to face the Aggies for the first time in 24 years Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. And Texas A&M’s most recent game, a 38-13 thrashing of the Bulldogs, is all the Alabama defense needs to see to know a tough challenge awaits.
Alabama is coming off a game in which it played an opponent with a similar physical style. The top-ranked Crimson Tide scored a last-minute touchdown and won 21-17 at LSU. Now it’s preparing for a very different team. No. 15 Texas A&M runs a fast-paced spread offense. Is a game like this won more on the practice field or in the film room?
Like people, schools have relationships. Often they are described in familial terms, such as sister institutions and sibling rivalries. Alabama and Texas A&M seem more like brothers. Not twins, mind you, but close. These schools have met only four times in football, yet they seem to share DNA. What explains the strong connection? Jackie Sherrill points to the patriarch. “You’d have to say Coach Bryant,” he said. “That’s the biggest connection.” But hardly the only one. Paul Bryant played at Alabama and later coached at Texas A&M (1954-57) before returning to Alabama in 1958. Gene Stallings played for Bryant at Texas A&M, coached for Bryant at Alabama, then went on to be the head coach both at Texas A&M and Alabama.
Nick Saban ‘optimistic’ that Alabama RB Eddie Lacy, WR Amari Cooper will be ready for Saturday’s game
Both running back Eddie Lacy and wide receiver Amari Cooper practiced Tuesday and continue to show signs of progress from their respective ankle injuries, Nick Saban said on today’s SEC teleconference. The Alabama coach said he’s “optimistic” that Lacy and Cooper will be ready for Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. kickoff against No. 15 Texas A&M. Saban said Lacy, who mostly sat out Monday’s practice, took half of the repetitions at Tuesday’s practice. Lacy hurt his ankle during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 21-17 win at LSU. “Hopefully, he’ll be even better today,” Saban said.
Nick Saban has all the luck. How many coaches get a do-over in the national championship game? Saban’s on his way to doing it twice. Last year, he figured out how to beat LSU in the BCS Championship Game by losing to the Tigers in the regular season. This year, he gets to prep for Oregon against Oregon Lite. Also known as Texas A&M. What better way to be ready for the swoosh of the Ducks than to experience the blur of the Aggies? No college football team plays the game at the speed of light quite like Oregon, but Texas A&M comes close.
With no offense intended, Alabama coach Nick Saban made it abundantly clear Monday that Blake Sims — or whoever else plays the role of scout team quarterback at practice throughout the week — is no Johnny Manziel. Really, no one is. Only the Texas A&M quarterback himself can simulate the kind of razzle-dazzle mix of intuitive scrambling and throwing that has strengthened the “Johnny Football” aura with each passing week. And, unsurprisingly, he’s not scheduled to appear at any one of Alabama’s practices this week. “If we had somebody that could play that part, we’d play them,” Saban said. “They’d be playing.” It will be up to the Crimson Tide’s defense Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium to stop a quarterback that has shredded opposing defenses to the tune of 281 passing yards and 102 rushing yards per game.
The Alabama football team continued preparations for Southeastern Conference newcomer Texas A&M with a two hour practice, Tuesday afternoon at the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields. “We made some mistakes and had some missed tackles last week that we need to correct,” sophomore defensive back HaHa Clinton-Dix said. “Now we are looking forward to playing Texas A&M this week. We have a tough time this week trying to contain their quarterback. They have some great receivers on their hands so we will have to step up to the plate and go all out.”