COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The 10th-ranked University of Alabama football team used a punishing rushing offense and big plays from its defense to defeat No. 9-ranked Texas A&M, 41-23, on Saturday before a crowd of 105,733 at Kyle Field. Alabama (6-1 overall; 3-1 in the Southeastern Conference) intercepted four passes, returning three for touchdowns, to knock off the previously unbeaten Aggies (5-1 overall; 2-1 in the SEC).
Crimson Tide running back Derrick Henry rushed for 236 yards and two touchdowns while cornerbacks Minkah Fitzpatrick and Eddie Jackson nabbed two interceptions each. Jackson returned one for a 93-yard touchdown as the Tide defense scored three times – a first in Alabama history. Fitzpatrick scored two touchdowns via interception returns, first on a 33-yard return in the first quarter, and later on a game-clinching 55-yarder. For Alabama, quarterback Jake Coker passed for 138 yards while completing 19-of-25 passes.
Alabama built a 28-6 lead midway through the second quarter with Henry rushing 15 times for 178 yards and three scores in the first half and the Tide defense holding the explosive A&M offense 189 total yards. After Fitzpatrick’s interception return, Henry rumbled 55 yards to pay dirt with 5:26 left in the opening stanza before tacking on a 6-yard scoring run with 14:51 left in the half. Jackson’s 93-yard scoring play extended the lead to 28-6 before A&M struck back on a 68-yard punt return touchdown by Christian Kirk with 3:03 left in the first half. Alabama led, 28-13, at halftime.
A&M narrowed the Alabama lead to 28-20 early in the third period on a 3-yard pass from quarterback Kyle Allen to wide receiver Ricky Seals-Jones. The Tide extended its lead to 34-20 on a pair of Adam Griffith field goals before A&M’s Taylor Bertolet hit a 36-yard field goal with 7:57 left in the fourth quarter, Bertolet’s third counter of the game. Fitzpatrick stopped an Aggie drive with his second interception of the day, which he returned 55 yards for his second score of the game. It set a Crimson Tide record for interceptions return for a touchdown, both for the team and an individual.
Alabama continues its season next Saturday, Oct. 24, at Bryant-Denny Stadium against the University of Tennessee (3-3 overall; 1-2 in the SEC).