Alabama throttles No. 24 Texas A&M in first game after being elevated to No. 1

Nick Bromberg
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS - OCTOBER 12: Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide throws a pass during the game against Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field on October 12, 2019 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
Tua Tagovailoa has 29 total touchdowns through Alabama's first half of the season. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

Any doubts about Alabama’s worthiness of the No. 1 ranking disappeared in College Station on Saturday. The Crimson Tide’s offense dominated No. 24 Texas A&M 47-28 to move to 6-0 on the season.

Alabama’s road trip was its first game since it overtook Clemson at No. 1 in the AP top 25 following the Tigers’ close win over North Carolina. And while Clemson showed how could it can be in an annihilation of Florida State on Saturday, Alabama was just as impressive.

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa continued his quest for the Heisman with four more touchdown passes. Yeah, he threw his first interception of the season, but one interception in six games is pretty tolerable when you’ve thrown 28 touchdown passes and for over 2,000 yards.

Jerry Jeudy — the reigning Biletnikoff winner — was the only one of Alabama’s top four wide receivers who didn’t catch a touchdown pass as DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle and Henry Ruggs III all found the end zone. Tagovailoa also threw a touchdown to running back Najee Harris who had three catches in addition to averaging over five yards per carry.

It’s not very often that you can say that an offense is clearly the strongest part of a Nick Saban-coached team. But that’s both a statement to how good Alabama’s offense is and how Alabama’s defense has been riddled with injuries. Only Oklahoma can profess to have a more explosive offense than the Tide and Alabama started four freshmen on defense on Saturday largely thanks to preseason and early season injuries to key players like LB Dylan Moses, LB Joshua McMillian and DL LaBryan Ray.

Oh, by the way, Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher is a former assistant to Saban. Saturday’s win means Saban is still undefeated against his former assistant coaches’ teams.

Is Texas A&M overrated?

The Aggies are certain to drop out of the top 25. Is it long overdue? A&M is now 3-3 and 1-2 overall.

It’s also the only program in the country that can say it’s lost to two No. 1-ranked teams. The Aggies lost 24-10 at then-No. 1 Clemson in Week 2. And then lost to then-No. 8 Auburn 28-20 at home in Week 4.

But A&M’s only win over a Power Five opponent came by four points over Arkansas on a neutral field. The Razorbacks lost at home earlier this season to San Jose State. It’s hard to take much from that Arkansas game and wins over Texas State and Lamar.

That’s why the upcoming four-game stretch is so crucial for the Aggies. Texas A&M plays Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas-San Antonio and South Carolina next. It should go 4-0 in those games. Anything less is unacceptable for Texas A&M fans and the preseason expectations that were placed upon this Aggie team.

Four wins would put A&M at 7-3 and on a roll entering games against Georgia and LSU in the final two weeks of the season. It’s hard to see A&M inning both of those games, but an 8-4 season and a return to the top 25 isn’t out of the question before a bowl game.

All eyes turn to LSU for Alabama fans

Saban, of course, will never let his team start to look ahead. But it seems pretty safe for Alabama fans to start thinking about that Nov. 9 matchup against No. 5 LSU at home. Alabama plays Tennessee and Arkansas before an off week ahead of the Tigers coming to town. The Tide should be 8-0 and still at No. 1 entering what could be the deciding game in the SEC West.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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