Alabama being able to run and stop the run, and non-offensive TD were key

Alabama slowed down SEC’s top team in rushing and total offense

With about five minutes to play in Alabama’s 33-14 win over Texas A&M Saturday, Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts took the snap and began giving ground, obviously just burning clock on a fourth down play from the Aggies 32. The issue had been decided. Hurts lost nine yards.

It brought to mind an observation made earlier this season: Jalen Hurts doesn’t worry about statistics. He just wants to win.

Those nine lost yards meant that Hurts finished with 93 yards rushing instead of joining Damien Harris as a 100-yard rusher against the Aggies.

Harris finished as the game’s leading rusher with 18 carries for 125 yards. Hurts had 21 carries for 93 yards and one touchdown. Also for Alabama, Josh Jacobs had 10 carries for 36 yards and Bo Scarbrough 8-33.

That added up to Alabama having 57 carries for 287 yards and 5.0 yards per rush. Texas A&M had 38 carries for 114 yards, 3.0 per rush.

Texas A&M came into the game leading the Southeastern Conference in rushing offense at 274.3 yards per game and in total offense at 532.8 yards per game, and second in the league at 40.2 points per game.

Alabama shut all of that down, holding the Aggies to 114 yards rushing, 278 yards of total offense, and 14 points.

Alabama, on the other hand, came into the game second in the league in rushing at 265.7 yards per game and rushed for 287. Bama had averaged 504.7 yards per game total offense and had 451 against the Aggies.

Our pregame assessment suggested the most important element to success in the game would be being able to run and stop the run (nothing original). We also thought (again, conventional wisdom) that winning the turnover battle would be important, but we also said that Alabama being able to have a takeaway result in a score might be particularly meaningful against the Aggies.

Here’s a look at a comparison of final team statistics in Saturday’s game:

Both teams passed for 164 yards and two touchdowns. The Aggies’ Trevor Knight completed 14-31 passes with one interception and he was sacked five times. Bama’s Hurts was 15-25 and he was intercepted twice, sacked three times.

Texas A&M had 69 plays for 278 yards, 4.0 yards per play, and Alabama 82 plays for 451 yards, 5.5 per play.

The Aggies fumbled twice and lost one (you probably recall that), while Bama fumbled once but retained possession. A&M was penalized 9 times for 81 yards, the Tide 7-44.

Texas A&M punted 6 times for a 42.5 average, Alabama’s JK Scott punted 2 time for a 53.5-yard average.

A&M was successful on 5-16 third down plays while Bama converted on 7-14. The Aggies scored a touchdown on their lone trip into the Alabama Red Zone (inside the 20), while the Tide was good on only 4-5 – two touchdowns and 2-3 on field goals.

In time of possession, Alabama had the ball about 2/3 of the game, 35:50 to 24:10.

With eight catches for 69 yards, Alabama tight end O.J. Howard has established a new single-game best for receptions. Howard’s previous career high was seven vs. Tennessee in 2015. Calvin Ridley had 4 catches for 27 yards and Howard and Ridley both had touchdown receptions.. ArDarius Stewart had 2-57 and Josh Jacobs 1-11.

On defense, Reuben Foster led Bama with 7 primary tackles and 4 assists for 11 total and was in on one tackle for loss for 3 yards and had a quarterback pressure. Ronnie Harrison (4 primary, 2 assist, 1 tackle for a 5-yard loss) and Jonathan Allen (3-3, 8-yard sack, fumble recovery, 4 quarterback pressures) were both in on 6 tackles.

Other tackle numbers were Hootie Jones 4-0, Ryan Anderson 4-0, Marlon Humphrey 3-0, Minkah Fitzpatrick 3-0, Eddie Jackson 3-0, Tim Williams 3-0, Dalvin Tomlinson 1-2, Mack Wilson 2-0, Anthony Averett 2-0, DaRon Payne 1-1, Terrell Hall 1-1, Tony Brown 1-1, Rashaan Evans 1-0, Da’Shawn Hand 1-0, Damien Harris 1-0, Christian Miller 1-0, Trevon Diggs 0-1, Derek Kief 0-1, and Josh Frazier 0-1.

Williams had 2 sacks for 27 yards, Tomlinson 1-12 and a tackle for -2, and Hand 1-3. Anderson had 3 tackles for 12 yards in losses and caused the fumble that Allen returned 29 yards for a touchdown and Tomlinson caused a fumble.

Humphrey had an interception. Passes were broken up by Humphrey, Tomlinson, Averett, and Hootie Jones.

In addition to Allen’s four quarterback pressures, Hand had two hurries, and one each were recorded by Anderson, Williams, and Christian Miller.

Video by A.P. Steadham

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