Texas A&M has already played quite a schedule, taking on then-No. 1 Clemson on the road as well as hosting then-No. 8 Auburn, losing both games. Now the Aggies get the unenviable task of hosting No. 1 Alabama, which is looking to move to 6-0 on the season.
Alabama has been dominant this season, averaging 51.8 points and winning by an average margin of 37 points. The No. 24 Aggies will be the first ranked team the Crimson Tide face this season and only their second true road game. Texas A&M comes into this contest after escaping with a 31-27 victory over Arkansas in Arlington, Texas, last weekend.
The moneyline for this contest has the Alabama Crimson Tide -1000 and the Texas A&M Aggies +650. Alabama is a 17-point favorite on the road, while the over/under for the game has been set at 61.
The Alabama offense has been relentless this season behind junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who has thrown at least one touchdown in his last 23 games. In two games against Southeastern Conference opponents this season, Tagovailoa has thrown for 862 yards and 11 touchdowns with no interceptions. Tagovailoa has a couple of dangerous targets in Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III, who are currently second and third, respectively, on the school’s all-time touchdown receptions list, trailing only Amari Cooper.
While the Alabama offense has been impressive, the defense has been just as impressive, tying for 13th in the country in scoring defense, giving up 14.8 points per game, and tying for 35th in the nation in total defense, allowing 325.4 yards per contest. The Tide has 30 sacks as a team so far, with linebacker Anfernee Jennings leading the way with five, while linebacker Terrell Lewis has four.
Needing A Big Game
The last time Texas A&M defeated Alabama, a quarterback named Johnny Manziel led the way with 345 yards of total offense, including 92 rushing yards, and two touchdown passes. If the Aggies are going to win on Saturday, Kellen Mond must have a performance like that. The junior has passed for 1,333 yards and 10 touchdowns, though he has an interception in all but one game this season. He must also be a rushing threat to make Alabama defenders think, as he’s carried the ball 37 times for 110 yards and two scores.
Isaiah Spiller is another player who must come up big against the Crimson Tide. He leads the Aggies with 255 yards and three scores on the ground, but if Texas A&M is going to stay in this game, he must be able to keep drives going and keep the Alabama offense off the field. Through five games, the Texas A&M defense has just eight sacks, with only defensive lineman Justin Madubuike recording more than one, as he leads the team with two.
Alabama Rolls Again
One thing that Alabama does well is taking the heart out of teams looking to pull an upset. The Crimson Tide has outscored opponents 56-20 in the first quarter this season, and they’ll look to strike early in this one to take the home crowd out of it. Texas A&M has struggled in its biggest games this season, scoring its only touchdown against Clemson in the final seconds of the contest. I’m taking Alabama -17 to win this one going away.