The Crimson Tide totaled 448 yards of offense while getting 259 return yards from Ruggs III and Waddle
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Big plays on offense and special teams helped No. 1/1 Alabama to a 47-28 road victory against No. 24/21 Texas A&M at Kyle Field on Saturday in College Station, Texas. Following the win, the Crimson Tide improves to 6-0 on the year with a 3-0 mark in Southeastern Conference play, while the Aggies drop to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in SEC competition.
On offense, junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa went 21-of-34 for 293 yards, while setting the Alabama career touchdown record with 81, moving ahead of the previous all-time mark of 77 set by AJ McCarron (2010-13). The Tide signal-caller recorded four scores through the air in the game and now has 81 for his career. Junior running back Najee Harris was tops in the UA ground game, totaling a career-high 20 carries resulting in a season-best 114 yards.
Junior DeVonta Smith totaled 99 receiving yards and one touchdown on seven catches to lead the Alabama wide receivers. Sophomore wideout and punt returner Jaylen Waddle totaled 176 all-purpose yards after catching three passes for 48 yards and his first receiving touchdown of the season to go with 128 yards on his four punt returns. Junior Henry Ruggs III had one score on his only grab of the day from 33-yards out while also accounting for 131 yards on four kickoff returns.
On defense, linebackers Anfernee Jennings and Shane Lee tallied a team-high eight tackles apiece. Jennings, a redshirt senior, added one sack, a pair of tackles for loss and one pass breakup on the day. Senior defensive back Shyheim Carter anchored the Tide secondary with seven tackles, two pass breakups and a forced fumble.
How It Happened
- The Aggies began the game by marching down the field and using a 15-play, 75-yard drive to take the early 7-0 lead.
- On its first offensive possession, the Tide answered with a methodical 10-play, 73-yard scoring drive capped off by Tagovailoa connecting with Waddle for a 31-yard touchdown.
- Following a Texas A&M three-and-out, Alabama struck again with Tagovailoa finding Smith on the slant before he turned the short pass into a 47-yard score, giving UA the 14-7 lead after the first quarter of play.
- The two sides traded field goals in the second quarter before Tagovailoa threw his third touchdown of the half, linking up with Harris from 16 yards out to make it 24-10 with 5:28 to go in the second.
- Texas A&M added a field goal before the halftime break to cut the Tide lead to 24-13.
- Alabama received the ball to begin the second half and used a nine-play, 51-yard drive that was capped off by redshirt sophomore Joseph Bulovas’ 27-yard field goal to extend the advantage to 27-13.
- The Tide continued to pour on the points in the third after Ruggs III hauled in a 33-yard touchdown pass from Tagovailoa to make it 34-13.
- With five minutes to go in the quarter, A&M cut the lead to 34-20 thanks to a 25-yard scoring strike through the air.
- In the fourth, Alabama got the ball with favorable field position after Waddle took the punt deep into A&M territory on a 42-yard return. Five plays later, junior running back Brian Robinson Jr. barreled into the end zone from two yards out to finish the 33-yard scoring drive and make it 40-20 in favor of the Tide.
- With the Aggies ready to punt deep in their own territory, sophomore Ale Kaho blocked the punt and with the ball rolling on the two-yard line, redshirt sophomore Tyrell Shavers picked it up for the score to push the lead to 47-20 with 11:30 in the game.
- Texas A&M added a touchdown and two-point conversion with 8:48 remaining in the contest to make it 47-28, the eventual final.
Players of the Game
- Tagovailoa finished with a 167.1 passer rating while his four passing touchdowns moved his season total to 27 through six games.
- Harris touched the ball 23 times in the game and gained 133 total yards of offense, including one touchdown reception.
- In addition to his 33-yard touchdown catch, Ruggs III had four solid returns on kickoffs, averaging 33 yards each time he touched the ball.
- Waddle was also key in getting the Tide into great field position in the return game. The sophomore standout totaled 128 yards on four punt returns, including a long of 43.
- Kaho blocked his second punt in the last two games for the Tide, as the second-year player also blocked a punt for a touchdown against Ole Miss on Sept. 28.
- Alabama went 8-of-13 on third downs today, including all three first half touchdown passes from Tagovailoa coming on third down.
- The Tide defense put pressure on A&M quarterback Kellen Mond all game, tallying five sacks and only allowing one on offense.
- In the return game, UA totaled 311 yards compared to the 24 yards from the Aggies.
- Alabama is back home at Bryant-Denny Stadium next week when it hosts Tennessee on Saturday, Oct. 19. Kickoff between the Crimson Tide and Volunteers will be at 8 p.m. CT and air on CBS.