No. 2 Alabama passed its first test of the year, and it did so without much resistance.
The Crimson Tide trounced No. 13 Texas A&M 52-24 at home on Saturday, putting up 544 yards of offense in the process. The A&M defense was just no match for the array of talent the Tide presents on offense with Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith and redshirt freshman John Metchie III all catching touchdowns from Mac Jones.
Jones threw for 435 yards in the win, and started off the afternoon with a bang. On the Tide’s third play from scrimmage, Jones hit Metchie in stride for a 78-yard touchdown. It was a play that would set the tone for a brutal afternoon for the Aggies’ secondary.
Hello, Mac Jones. Hello, John Metchie. Hello, end zone. pic.twitter.com/RN1aVjYHXY— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 3, 2020
Though Texas A&M briefly made it interesting with two quick scores at the 1:13 mark of the first quarter and 14:44 mark of the second quarter to tie the score at 14-14, the game was never in question for Alabama.
The offense quickly responded with a scoring drive that culminated with a Najee Harris touchdown run. And on the ensuing drive, Daniel Wright intercepted an errant Kellen Mond pass and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown.
And when the Aggies turned it over on downs via a fourth-down drop in Alabama territory on the next possession, the Tide made them pay. Just before half Jones dropped in a perfect pass to a leaping Smith for a 13-yard score. In a span of about nine minutes, a tie ballgame transformed into a three-score Alabama lead at halftime.
From that point forward, the Aggies never had a chance. An 87-yard bomb from Jones to Waddle in the third quarter officially put the game out of reach and added another highlight to the early 2020 Alabama reel.
So did a second bomb to Metchie.
"I think we have a new star we can talk about."— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 3, 2020
John Metchie III: 5 REC, 181 YDS, 2 TD pic.twitter.com/JnLw25zlRW
What does this mean for Alabama?
After missing the College Football Playoff in 2019, Nick Saban’s team has come out hot in 2020. The Tide breezed past Missouri last week and made easy work of a supposed SEC West challenger in Texas A&M on Saturday.
Any concerns about Jones in his first full-time season as the starter have been quickly eased. Having speedsters like Waddle, Smith and Metchie certainly help matters. Metchie, who redshirted last year, led the Tide with five catches for 181 yards and two scores in the win. Waddle, a preseason All-American, went for 142 yards and a touchdown, also on five catches. Smith, meanwhile, caught six passes for 63 yards and a TD.
A trip to Oxford to face Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss awaits next week before Georgia visits Tuscaloosa. If there’s one thing Saban might want his team to improve, it could be the running game. Though he scored twice, Harris was limited to 43 yards on 12 carries. It wouldn’t matter because the passing attack was so electric.
Against teams with more talented secondaries (like Georgia), a more efficient running game would only help matters.
What does this mean for Texas A&M?
Saturday’s outing was another example of the Aggies coming up small in big games under Jimbo Fisher.
This is the third year for A&M under Fisher, the coach it gave a 10-year, $75 million guaranteed contract. He has just one win over a ranked SEC opponent to show for it so far. Fisher and his staff have been recruiting at a high level, but that has not translated on the field yet — especially against the upper-tier SEC competition.
With Saturday’s loss, A&M is 18-10 (10-8 SEC) under Fisher. Even if A&M never was given much of a shot to beat Alabama, the 17-12 win over Vanderbilt last week did not exactly inspire much confidence.
This was supposed to be a year A&M competed for an SEC West title. On Saturday, it was pretty clear that the Aggies still have a long, long way to go. And there is not much time to correct things, either. Next week, A&M will welcome No. 3 Florida to Kyle Field. The Gators may not have the speed that Alabama has at wideout, but they still have a potent passing attack led by Kyle Pitts, the top tight end in the country, and Kyle Trask, the best QB in the SEC.
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