Most of the news was good from Alabama’s 33-14 win over Texas A&M in Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday, but the one piece of bad news from the Crimson Tide’s win was really bad.
Eddie Jackson has not only been a star at safety and in the punt return role for Alabam, he is unquestionably one of the leaders of the team. His season ended Saturday following a fourth quarter punt return. Jackson went down awkwardly when tackled and suffered a broken leg, according to Alabama Coach Nick Saban.
Jackson had 24 tackles, including three for lost yardage, an interception returned 55 yards for a touchdown against Western Kentucky, two passes broken up, and 11 punt returns for 253 yards, including two for touchdowns (vs. Ole Miss and Tennessee).
He set the Alabama record for interception return yards as a junior with 230 yards (and he had two returns for TDs). His three career interception returns for touchdowns ties the Alabama record.
Jackson was Defensive Most Valuable Player in last season’s win over Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
Junior safety Hootie Jones made his fist career start for Alabama as the dime back (“Money” in Alabama nomenclature, meaning six defensive backs) and then took over safety duties for Jackson as the Crimson Tide reverted to its more familiar nickel (five defensive backs) package.
Jones is the 14th Bama player this year to have a starting debut.
Here are notes of a mostly positive nature from Saturday’s win.
Alabama has now defeated five ranked teams this season, including three in the past three weeks. Bama’s wins against ranked teams are over then-No. 17 Southern Cal (52-6), No. 17 Ole Miss (48-43), No. 16 Arkansas (49-30), No. 9 Tennessee (49-10), and No. 6 Texas A&M (33-14).
The Tide has won 12 consecutive games against ranked teams, the longest streak in the nation since Southern Cal won 16 straight from 2002-05. Alabama’s streak started last year with a 38-10 win over No. 8 Georgia in Athens.
Alabama came into this season knowing it would face two quarterbacks who had previously been at the helm of teams which had defeated the Crimson Tide. Saban has a history of never losing to the same quarterback twice in succession.
Earlier this year, Alabama took a 48-43 win over Ole Miss and quarterback Chad Kelly, who had handed Bama its only loss in last year’s national championship season.
Saturday it was Alabama vs. Trevor Knight, now the quarterback at Texas A&M, but when the Tide last saw him at the end of the 2013 season he was quarterbacking Oklahoma to a 45-31 win over Bama in the Sugar Bowl.
Check off Chad Kelly and Trevor Knight.
Bama now has an all-time record of 7-2 against Texas A&M.
The Tide has won 24 of its last 25 games in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Bama’s all-time record in Bryant-Denny is 249-53-3.
The Aggies became the 28th team in the Nick Saban Era at Alabama to have a bye week before playing the Tide. That is 12 more than any other team has faced in that period. No. 29 will come in the next meeting when Bama goes to LSU on Nov. 5, but Alabama will also have an open date Saturday.
Alabama has now played 67 games while ranked No. 1 in the nation in the Associated Press poll, and the Crimson Tide has a record of 57-10 in those games.
Alabama is now the final undefeated team in Southeastern Conference play this year with the win over the previously unbeaten Aggies.
Alabama improved to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in SEC games and will now have an open week before playing LSU in Baton Rouge on Nov. 5.
With a tip of the cap to the SEC Network which revealed this interesting statistic. Since the third game of the college football season, these three players all have two touchdowns each – Christian McCaffrey of Stanford, Leonard Fournette of LSU, and Jonathan Allen of Alabama.
McCaffrey and Fournette were preseason Heisman Trophy favorites.
Allen had a pivotal moment against Texas A&M when he picked up a fumble caused by Ryan Anderson and took it 29 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.
That was Alabama’s ninth defensive touchdown this season, which leads the nation. Alabama has now scored at least one defensive touchdown in its last four games.
It was Allen’s second fmble return for a TD, having previously scored on a 75-yard return against Ole Miss. (That was probably an interception return, which makes no difference, but at the time the Rebels – who are now 3-4 overall and 1-3 in SEC games – thought Kelly might be a Heisman Trophy candidate and changed the pass to a fumble.)
The 6-3, 291-pound Allen now has 104 yards in return yards. On Saturday he had more than twice as many return yards as A&M kickoff return specialist Speedy Noil, who had one kickoff return that ended abruptly after 14 yards when Noil was blasted by Tide freshman linebacker Mack Wilson.
Including special teams touchdowns, the Tide now has 12 non-offensive touchdowns this year, at least one in all eight games. For the year, Bama has scored on five fumble returns for TDs, four pass interceptions, and three punt returns.
Seven different Alabama defenders have scored.
Allen’s score was the 58th non-offensive touchdown of the Nick Saban Era.
Alabama has scored at least one non-offensive touchdown in its last 10 games, dating back to the College Football Playoff semifinal in the Cotton Bowl (a 38-0 win over Michigan State).
Allen’s first quarter sack of Knight was the 24th of his career, putting him one shy of Kindal Moorehead (1998-2002) for second all-time at Alabama. With two quarterback sacks on Saturday against Texas A&M, Tim Williams ran his career sacks total to 18 1/2. That moves him into 10th place, one ahead of John Copeland (1991-92) on Alabama’s career sacks list.The Crimson Tide’s all-time leader for career sacks is Derrick Thomas (1985-88) with 52.
Alabama held Texas A&M to season lows in points (14) and total offense (278 yards). The Aggies came into the game leading the SEC in rushing and finished with 114 net yards – in part because the Aggies had 65 yards in lost yardage.
Bama came into the game leading the nation in rushing defense (63.9 yards per game). Ole Miss with 101 and now Texas A&M are the only teams to rush for 100 yards against the Tide.
Aggies freshman tailback Trayveon Williams came into the game leading the SEC in rushing. Williams was held to 23 yards on 9 carries by the Bama defeznse.
Calvin Ridley's four-yard touchdown reception from Jalen Hurts was the 12th touchdown catch of his Alabama career, tying him for ninth in Alabama history with Kevin Norwood (2010-13). Keith Brown (2004-07) and David Bailey (1969-71) are next on the Tide list with 13 each. Amari Cooper's 31 touchdown catches is the Alabama career record.
With two passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown, Hurts has been responsible for 20 touchdowns this season (11 passing, 9 rushing), tying him for ninth on the Alabama single-season list with Mark Ingram (2009, 17 rushing/3 receiving) and Greg McElroy (2010, 19 passing/1 rushing).
Alabama extended its program-record scoring streak to 206 games and its current national-best first half scoring to 126 games.
Alabama had a 13-6 halftime lead before going on to its victory over Texas A&M. Bama is now 100-6 under Saban when leading at the half.
Honorary captains for Alabama were former quarterback John Parker Wilson and former tailback Glen Coffee.
Tide game captains were offensive tackle Cam Robinson, safety Eddie Jackson, and linebacker Reuben Foster.