A special player and special teams play led top-ranked Alabama to a 47-28 victory over 24th-ranked Texas A&M on Saturday afternoon at Kyle Field in Southeastern Conference action before 106,749 fans.
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw touchdown passes to four different receivers, completing 21 of 34 for 293 yards as Alabama won its seven straight in the series. Tagovailoa also threw four touchdown passes in last year’s 45-23 victory over the Aggies.
Tagovailoa was complemented by Alabama’s kicking game which accounted for the Crimson Tide’s last score and figured in several others. Ale Kaho blocked Braden Mann’s punt and Tyrell Shavers returned it 2 yards for the touchdown and a 47-20 lead. Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle also had 128 yards on four punt returns and Henry Ruggs III added 131 yards on four kickoff returns.
We had opportunities to be successful in the game and get back in the game,” A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said. “We were right there to have those opportunities, we gotta learn to get over them and push through it. Against good people, you can’t almost get there.”
Alabama (6-0, 3-0) put the game away early in the fourth quarter. Brian Robinson’s 2-yard run capped a five-play, 33-yard drive to make it 40-20 with 13:02 left in the game. That was set up by Ruggs’ 42-yard punt return.
A&M couldn’t pick up a first down, setting up the blocked punt.
A&M (3-3, 1-2), which trailed by the fewest points of any Alabama opponent after three quarters, scored the last touchdown as freshman tight end Jalen Wydermyer caught an 18-yard pass from Kellen Mond to cap a seven-play, 75-yard drive.
Alabama’s leading receiver was DeVonta Smith with seven catches for 99 yards. Najee Harris rushed for 114 yards on 20 carries.
Mond threw for 264 yards on 24 of 42 with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Quartney Davis had seven catches for 81 yards and Jhamon Ausbon added five for 60.
A&M’s Seth Small hit a 32-yard field goal to end the first half, pulling A&M within 24-13.
Alabama, which scored on its first four possessions, didn’t get anything out of A&M’s lone turnover of the half because Tagovailoa threw his first interception of the season on third-and-9 from A&M’s 13. Tagovailoa didn’t see A&M safety Demani Richardson who cut in front of the intended receiver for an easy interception.
The Aggies covered 69 yards on 10 plays for Small’s field goal, getting help from a pair of roughing the pass penalties.
A&M opened the game with a 15-play, 75-yard touchdown drive capped by a 1-yard run by Mond. Alabama took control of the game with Tagovailoa throwing touchdown passes to Harris (16 yards), Waddle (31 yards) and Smith (47 yards).
A&M had three drives of at least 10 plays along with a three-and-out that led to a touchdown for Alabama.