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Five (unexpected) keys for Texas A&M to beat Alabama

The Texas A&M Aggies will welcome the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide to Kyle Field on Saturday, and as they look to upset the juggernaut that Nick Saban has built, you’ll see a lot of articles listing the keys to victory. These will inevitably talk about making or limiting big plays, creating or limiting turnovers, protecting the quarterback, minimizing mistakes, etc. Basically fundamental things that any team needs to do in order to win any game. These formulaic lists will be on almost every site that covers Texas A&M football. But not this site, and not this list.

These are the keys that big brother doesn’t want you to know about. The things that will really determine who wins the game on Saturday. So get ready to have your mind blown with the five (unexpected) keys for A&M to beat Alabama.

1. Have more penalties

Tulsa v SMU Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

But Robert, penalties are bad! There’s no way the team with more penalties would win the game more often, right? Wrong. In four of the past six games in this series, the winning team (read: Alabama) has committed more penalties than the loser. So go against traditional wisdom and play the numbers, Ags. Let your yellow flag fly.

2. Don’t throw the ball. Like ever.

Alabama v Texas A&M Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

A&M has played Alabama seven times since joining the SEC, and in that time, only twice has the team who threw for more yards won the game. And don’t talk to me about how game scripts determine this and that the team who is behind will inevitably throw the ball more. Facts are facts, if you throw the ball more you will lose. So no throwing. Not a single pass.

3. Avoid making plays on special teams

Arkansas v Texas A&M Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In the past four matchups, A&M has made four field goals from 50 yards or longer. Alabama has zero. A&M returned a punt for a touchdown in 2015 and blocked a punt for a safety in 2017. Alabama hasn’t scored or created a turnover on a single punt. A&M also won the yards per punt battle in these games by almost six yards (48.5 to 42.75). Did A&M end up wining any of those games? They did not. So stop trying to do the little things right, because clearly the little things don’t matter. Miss a kick or two. Shank a punt. It’s clear that good special teams play only hurts your chances of coming out on top.

4. Time of possession is your enemy

CFP National Championship - Alabama v Clemson Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Once again, I know this goes against everything you think you know about college football. But each of the past two years, A&M has won the possession battle but still lost the football game. Football is evolving quickly, and if you don’t evolve with it, you risk getting left behind. So do what the data tells you and let Bama hold onto that rock as much as they want. You’ll be rewarded in the end.

5. Lose the fourth quarter

Minnesota Vikings v Tennessee Titans Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

They say the fourth quarter is win good team play their best. But is it? Each of the past two seasons, A&M has lost despite outscoring Alabama in the game’s final frame. So if you’re relying on your conditioning and mental toughness to give you an edge in the game’s final moments, don’t bother. The recent trend shows that it’s far better to let your opponent score more than you in the fourth quarter, and that is all the context I need.

So there it is. The five keys to victory that nobody saw coming. I hope the team has taken notice and will adjust their gameplan accordingly. BTHO Bama!


Which of these keys will be the most key key?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Have more penalties
    (173 votes)
  • 36%
    Don’t throw the ball
    (337 votes)
  • 6%
    Avoid making ST plays
    (56 votes)
  • 12%
    TOP is your enemy
    (117 votes)
  • 25%
    Lose the fourth quarter
    (235 votes)
918 votes total Vote Now