Earlier this yr, Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher made a playful declaration.
He was asked at the Houston Touchdown Club what could be the important thing, aside from Nick Saban retiring, to lastly beating Alabama. In reply, Fisher jokingly assured that his Aggies would beat the Crimson Tide with Saban nonetheless on the helm.
Reporters advised Saban about Fisher’s remark the subsequent day and requested him what he thought.
“In golf?” Saban mentioned sarcastically, showing unconvinced that Fisher might pull off such a feat.
5 months later the 2 coaches met in Faculty Station, Texas. Fisher’s unranked Aggies had been coming off two straight losses. Saban’s Crimson Tide sat undefeated atop the nationwide rankings. And in entrance of hundreds of followers at Kyle Stadium on Saturday evening, Fisher’s low season phrases got here to fruition. Texas A&M surprised Alabama, 41-38, on a walk-off area aim, handing the Crimson Tide their first loss since November 2019 and sealing the Aggies’ greatest win of the Fisher period.
It was the Aggies’ first win over Alabama since Johnny Manziel, who was on the Texas A&M sideline on Saturday, led the workforce previous the Crimson Tide in 2012. And it was the primary time that one in every of Saban’s former assistants (Fisher was Louisiana State’s offensive coordinator beneath Saban within the early 2000s) bested him.
The Aggies did it with their backup quarterback, Zach Calzada, who took over the position after starter Haynes King went down in Week 2 towards Colorado.
Calzada accomplished 21 of 31 passes for 285 yards, tossing three touchdowns with one interception.
Late within the fourth quarter, Alabama stormed from behind to take a 38-31 lead after Younger discovered large receiver Jameson Williams uncovered ultimately zone for a landing. Younger hit Williams on the following 2-point conversion for the lead.
Calzada responded by guiding the Aggies simply down the sphere, and he capped the drive with a 25-yard dime to receiver Ainias Smith for the tying landing.
After that, the Aggies protection, which appeared exhausted within the fourth after being on the sphere for a lot of the second half, bought its greatest cease of the season and compelled Alabama to punt.
Calzada had been hit in his left knee as he launched the ball on the tying landing, however got here again within the recreation on Texas A&M’s subsequent possession after briefly going into the medical tent, and he moved the Aggies into area aim place.
“He didn’t know that play was a landing,” Fisher mentioned of Calzada after the sport. “He smiled and went again in. He was positive. And that’s what it’s. That’s what soccer is. You rise up off the canvas. You’ve bought to go play. You get the heck knocked out of you. You’ve bought to go play the subsequent play. Individuals don’t care.”
With a second left within the recreation, Seth Small’s kick sneaked in via the left upright, snapping Alabama’s 19-game profitable streak.
Texas A&M pressured and blitzed Alabama quarterback Bryce Younger, a Heisman Trophy favourite, early and infrequently. The Aggies’ protection sacked Younger thrice within the first half and intercepted him early within the second quarter.
Texas A&M used that and a first-quarter fumble by working again Brian Robinson to take a 24-10 to the half.
Early within the third quarter, it appeared, for just some minutes, that Alabama is likely to be on its method to storming again for a win.
After stalling a Texas A&M drive at its personal 18, Alabama’s Ja’Corey Brooks blocked Nik Constantinou’s punt try, and linebacker King Mwikuta recovered that ball ultimately zone for the landing, slicing the Aggies result in one rating.
The Crimson Tide had little time to rejoice, although. On the kickoff, Texas A&M’s Devon Achane ran the chill for a 96-yard landing. The Aggies’ lead swelled again to 14.
Then, on Alabama’s subsequent possession, Younger discovered Williams for a 29-yard rating to deliver Alabama again inside a landing. The sophomore quarterback completed the sport with 369 yards, three touchdowns, an interception and the primary lack of his younger profession.
Alabama now awaits the subsequent Associated Press Top 25 college football poll to see how far it should fall, giving followers new fodder for arguments main into the primary Faculty Soccer Playoff rankings later this season.
And Texas A&M will certainly discover itself again within the media ballot, the place it was earlier than losses to Arkansas and Mississippi State.
“We may be particular if we enable ourselves,” Fisher mentioned on the CBS broadcast after the sport, his voice cracking and Texas A&M followers raging behind him.