If you were to compile a list of generalized goals that a team must achieve in order to have a chance against this year’s Alabama team, things like “hold their offense to 109 rushing yards” and “control time of possession” would likely be up there. Unfortunately for us, things like “don’t be -2 in the turnover battle” and “impact their passing game in any discernible way so that it does not resemble a leisurely game of pitch-and-catch” are important ones as well.
YES, WE OUTGAINED ALABAMA ON THE GROUND
We did that. Rushing yards, and yards per carry:
Texas A&M: 130, Alabama 109
Texas A&M 4.6, Alabama 3.9
There were other positives sticking strictly to the stat sheet:
Texas A&M 4-50, Alabama 9-82
Time of possession:
Texas A&M 32:36, Alabama 27:24
That’s all very nice until you realize it doesn’t mean much because of these numbers.
1 quarterback hurry
1 pass deflection
2 plays of 50+ yards
The Alabama passing game on Saturday was a ruthless and efficient machine. Tua Tagovailoa was whipping throws off his back foot, threading them through coverage and nailing his targets consistently with an almost effortless precision. You get it in your head when playing Alabama that to really give yourself a chance you have to stop their run game and make them beat you through the air. Well, they can sure as hell do that when they’ve a mind to as well. There are other numbers that aren’t on the stat sheets, like yards after contact and missed tackles, that would paint an even more depressing picture.
SO WHAT ELSE HAPPENED?
7 sacks, 12 QB hurries, 5 pass breakup, 2 interceptions
0 sacks, 1 QB hurry, 1 pass breakup, 0 interceptions
Care to guess which was which? There was virtually no disruption of the Tide passing machine. Combine that with more sloppy tackling in the secondary, and this was almost like a 7-on-7 clinic with the efficiency of a drill. Alabama is very good, yes, but we should be good enough to slow them down a little bit more than this. Conversely, Mond had very little time to get into any kind of rhythm in the pocket, and relied on his feet to make any sort of positive thing happen.
There were bright spots wholly independent of the offense and defense’s inability to do much.
60.8: this is how many yards Braden Mann averaged per punt, on five attempts. All five went 50+ yards. Mann also went 6-6 on kickoff touchbacks
3/3: Seth Small continues to impress at kicker. He hit a 52-yarder in the first half and added a couple of extra points.
If these guys hadn’t been so good, it could have been even uglier.
So apart from not being able to slow down Alabama’s passing game, allowing far too many yards after first contact thanks to more shoddy tackling, not being able to protect the quarterback, and not being able to establish a controlled running game or consistent passing game, it wasn’t that bad of a day, really.
We want Arkansas.