The worst-case scenario for the rest of the SEC played out Saturday night: A conference team came somewhat close to defeating Alabama.
For fewer than seven seconds in the first half, Texas A&M held a 3-0 lead over the Tide. Then, with 17 seconds to go in the game, the Aggies cut the lead to eight. Never mind that executing an onside kick, scoring a touchdown and converting a two-point play is damn near impossible, let alone doing it against Alabama.
That said, the damage had been done.
Nick Saban won’t ever admit it, but Saturday was exactly the kind of game his team needed and this article is exactly the “rat poison” Saban will want his players to avoid.
The Tide led 17-3 at halftime and stretched it to 24-3 before the Aggies were able to put seven more on the board. Even with a 17-3 halftime lead, the first two quarters were a jumbled mess for Alabama’s offense which had three three-and-outs, a one-play touchdown drive and a missed field goal.
The second half predictably began with a well-executed Tide drive, culminating in a Jalen Hurts to Henry Ruggs touchdown pass that seemingly put away the game.
It was at this moment events went sideways for the Tide. First, Robert Foster fumbled a catch, leading to an Aggies touchdown that made it 24-10.
The ensuing series saw Jalen Hurts sacked, an incomplete pass and a 19-yard shanked punt by J.K. Scott, giving the Aggies great field position and momentum.
What happened next was possibly the most important Tide interception of the year as Aggies freshman quarterback Kellen Mond didn’t read Minkah Fitzpatrick as well as Fitzpatrick read him. While the interception, which saw Fitzpatrick run out of bounds at his 2-yard-line, did set up a blocked punt and subsequent safety for the Aggies, the two points given up were worth taking as opposed to risking what a touchdown would have meant in that situation.
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Instead of trailing Alabama by seven in a 24-17 game, the Aggies trailed 24-12.
The A&M next drive saw two Tide freshman linemen, Quinnen Williams and LaBryan Ray, come up with huge sacks, forcing a punt. Alabama added another field goal, essentially putting the game away, while riding out the storm of momentum the Aggies had up to that point.
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