Alabama had an impressive 41-23 win over Texas A&M in College Station Saturday as the Crimson Tide improved its record to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in Southeastern Conference play and rose to eighth in the nation.
Bama linebacker Reggie Ragland said the team is playing better because no one is concerned with personal accolades. When Tide tailback Derrick Henry was asked about possible Heisman Trophy recognition, he didn’t allow the question to be finished before shaking his head with a “Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah.”
But good players on good teams are going to earn recognition, and Alabama had a lot of them – including Ragland and Henry -- following the Tide’s Saturday win.
And most honored Alabama player is freshman defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation National Defensive Player of the Week and was also named the SEC Freshman of the Week.
Henry was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week for the third time this season.
They were two of nine players selected by the Alabama coaching staff for team player of the week recognition.
Fitzpatrick, a true freshman from Old Bridge, N.J., returned two interceptions for touchdowns against Texas A&M, going 33 and 55 yards for scores. He is the only player in Alabama history (via records verified back to 1948) to return two interceptions for scores in the same game.
Fitzpatrick added two solo tackles as the Crimson Tide limited the Aggies to just one offensive touchdown and 316 yards of total offense, 164 yards below their season average. His 88 interception return yards was tied for the seventh most in a single game in school history.
He is the 10th Alabama player to earn Walter Camp National Player of the Week honors since 2004, and the sixth defensive back. Ragland was named the Chuck Bednarik Award National Defensive Player of the Week following the Arkansas game.
Henry was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 236 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries against the Aggies. The 236 yards and 32 carries both eclipsed his previous career highs, and marked the first time an Alabama running back has surpassed the 200-yard mark since Trent Richardson in 2011. He accounted for 64.1 per cent (254 yards rushing and receiving) of Bama’s total offense. Henry broke free for touchdown runs of 55 and six yards to extend his school record of consecutive games with a rushing touchdown to 12.
In recognition by the Bama coaching staff, Henry and quarterback Jacob Coker were the offensive players of the week; Fitzpatrick, Ragland, end Jonathan Allen, and safety Eddie Jackson were defensive honorees; and placekicker Adam Griffith and cover men Bradley Sylve and Maurice Smith were selected for special teams play.
Coker finished his day 19-of-25 passing for 138 yards. He also added seven rushes.
Ragland, who earned his second nod from the coaches in as many weeks, once again led the team in tackles, finishing with nine. This was the sixth time in seven games that Ragland has led Alabama in tackles and ninth overall in his career. He also recorded a tackle for loss and one sack. Allen was explosive off the line, totaling five tackles, including two sacks. Jackson had a career day, finishing with two interceptions and 119 return yards. One of his picks went for a 93-yard score marking the third-longest pick-six in Alabama history.
Griffith connected on both of his two field goal attempts, while also making all five of the extra points for the Crimson Tide. The junior also averaged 63.9 yards on eight kickoffs with five touchbacks. Sylve totaled three tackles and helped limit an Aggie aerial attack that was averaging 292.4 yards per game entering last Saturday’s matchup. Smith, a junior from Sugar Land, Texas, assisted on three tackles on kickoff coverage that kept the Aggies to just 24 return yards.
Alabama returns to action in Bryant-Denny Stadium against Tennessee Saturday. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. CDT with television coverage by CBS.