No. 2 Alabama beat No. 13 Texas A&M 52-24 on Saturday afternoon with an impressive performance from nearly everybody on its offense. The Alabama offense finished with 544 yards, averaging a remarkable 9.9 yards per play. Quarterback Mac Jones set new career highs with 435 yards passing and four touchdown passes. And his wide receivers made one play after another to break open the game.
Things started well for the Aggies on their opening drive as they moved down the field into the Crimson Tide’s red zone before stalling out and settling for a field goal attempt. The attempt missed, and three plays later, Jones was hitting John Metchie III for a 78-yard touchdown to put the Tide up 7-0.
Texas A&M battled back, coming from 14-0 to tie the game 14-14 early in the second quarter, but the Aggies shot themselves in the foot from then onward. After Alabama took the lead back, Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond threw a pick six on a third-and-long as Daniel Wright undercut a route and took it 47 yards the other way. Then on Texas A&M’s next drive, Mond hit Ainias Smith on a third down for what should have been an easy first down. Instead Smith, who scored a spectacular 47-yard touchdown earlier in the half, dropped the ball.
Alabama then marched 64 yards in eight plays before Jones found Devonta Smith in the back of the end zone to go up 35-14 with 22 seconds left in the half. In the third quarter, the Aggies threatened to make a game of it, but after forcing an Alabama three-and-out, their impressive drive once again stalled, and they had to settle for a field goal. Then in a case of deja vu, Jones hit Jaylen Waddle for a 78-yard touchdown a few plays later to make it 42-17.
After that, the only question was how large the final deficit would be. The answer was 28 points by the time the buzzer sounded. Here’s my four biggest takeaways from yet another Alabama blowout victory.
1. Alabama has a new receiving threat
The Tide lost both Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs to the NFL in the spring but still had Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith returning. So we knew they’d be in good shape at the receiver spot, but it turns out there’s a third name you need to know. Metchie had his coming out party against the Aggies. It started with his 78-yard touchdown grab — the first of his career — on the team’s first possession and continued throughout the game. Metchie finished with five receptions for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers are incredible on their own but even more remarkable considering Metchie entered the game with only six receptions for 65 yards in his career.
Oh, and he was one of two Alabama receivers to set a new career-high in receiving yards in the game. The aforementioned Mr. Waddle finished with five receptions, 142 yards and a score of his own as both benefited from Jones’ new career-high for passing yards. Career highs everywhere you look!
2. Najee Harris is a model of consistency
When Harris found the end zone from 6 yards out in the first quarter, it extended his streak of games with at least one rushing touchdown to nine. He scored a second rushing touchdown later to give himself a total of 17 during that nine-game stretch. Using advanced math, we can conclude that 17 touchdowns in nine games is pretty good! Harris brings so much to this Alabama offense. He’s terrific as a rusher, but he’s also a valuable weapon out of the backfield. He set up his first touchdown by making a spectacular catch along the sideline on a wheel route. It was the second-straight week he was on the end of a big play running the same route. Considering all the weapons this Alabama team has on offense, no wonder they’re nearly impossible to stop.
3. Texas A&M needs a quarterback
We hype the Aggies up every offseason. We mentioned this year how Jimbo Fisher entered Year 3 in charge and had improved the talent level of the roster. Texas A&M has more five- and four-star recruits on the roster than three-stars or fewer, which you can say about every team that has won a national title in the modern era. But you know what else those teams have had that Texas A&M doesn’t? An elite quarterback.
Mond is not a bad player. In fact, he’s better than most QBs in the country and plenty of teams would be happy to have him. You can win a lot of games with Mond, but you can’t beat elite teams with him. At least, not consistently. Mond finished with 318 yards passing but completed only 25 of 44 passes. He threw for three touchdowns and an interception and had some terrific throws mixed in with his usual “what are you doing!?” throws. But the only thing consistent about Mond is the overall lack of consistency, and no matter what Fisher does with this program, they aren’t going to break through to the top of the division until they improve the QB spot.
Let’s not forget, Fisher had very talented rosters at Florida State, too, but it wasn’t until he had Jameis Winston that he won a national title. It’s the same story in College Station, Texas. If Fisher is going to deliver on his massive contract, he needs to find and develop an elite QB.
4. Nick Saban still owns his former assistants
With this win, Saban improved to 20-0 when coaching against his former assistants. He’s now 4-0 against Fisher, who worked on his staff at LSU. The four wins against Fisher are the most Saban has against any of his former assistants. Will this keep SEC schools from hiring Saban’s former assistants? Doubtful!
CBS Sports was with you the entire way updating this story with highlights and analysis from Alabama vs. Texas A&M. Keep reading for more from the game, and hit the post-game box score for more information.