Countdown to the Showdown
College football isn’t recorded with fancy poems and pop songs, but with the blood and sweat left on the gridiron. When two heavyweights come together for a game to be spoken about for years, the entire country is on its toes. Saturday, in the intense heat of Texas, the Alabama Crimson Tide looks to add College Station on their list of conquered cities, while the Aggies look to prove themselves again by beating Goliath, this time in their own back yard. A new season has started and both teams look to make their bid for the coveted crystal trophy.
Both teams say this game is not about revenge, referring to the Alabama loss 29-24 last year in Tuscaloosa. Coach Saban said the team is looking forward to creating an identity for this year’s team, and separating this team from the previous one. The game in Atlanta against Virginia Tech was a win, but a modest one. The only player that stood out was wide receiver Christian Jones who stole the show with 256 total yards and three touchdowns. But there is still a lot of talent on this Alabama football team that has not been exposed yet.
The Crimson Tide defense held the Hokies to 3-17 on third down conversions, and only gave up 59 yards passing. Vinni Sunseri even had an interception for a touchdown. The defense only surrendered huge yardage on a couple of big plays, but otherwise was the same hard-nose defense we associate with Alabama.
The offense, however, sputtered. Only 206 total yards which is well under last year’s 445.5 average per game. McCarron threw a career low of 110 yards as the starter and a touchdown, while Yeldon only managed 75 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown. For a team with a lot of talent, Alabama played pretty modestly. Can those numbers be enough against A&M?
You might argue Virginia Tech has a better defense than Texas A&M. The Aggies gave up an average of 29 points against Rice and Sam Houston State. Rice had more total yards than A&M with 509 yards of offense. The Aggies gained more yards against Sam Houston State, but still gave up 390 yards, and the Aggies have been terrible against the run. Sam Houston State’s running back Timothy Flanders managed 190 yards with two touchdowns.
So the biggest match-up, one would think, is the showdown of Johnny Manziel and the Crimson Tide defense. Last year, Manziel passed for 253 yards and rushed for 92, and kept his offense on the field with wild plays to take the early 20-0 lead. But the Alabama’s defense knows his ability and the Aggies speed of the game, so one can expect the Tide will not be so confounded this year, and hungry to prove they can stop the Heisman winner.
Texas A&M is 2-10 all-time versus top ranked teams. Nick Saban is 15-2 in games avenging previous losses. The statistics will not matter on Saturday, and two teams will make an identity for themselves under the unforgiving Texas sun.
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