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Texas A&M vs. Alabama: Complete Game Preview

Sanjay KirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystJanuary 6, 2017

Texas A&M vs. Alabama: Complete Game Preview

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    After surviving a slugfest against LSU, top-ranked Alabama must prepare for another ranked SEC West opponent with league newcomer Texas A&M visiting Tuscaloosa this weekend. 

    This week’s practices should have a heightened level of focus—with Nick Saban likely to be in a frosty mood after some uncharacteristic sloppy play by his club against the Tigers.

    Especially of concern is the play of the defense, which surrendered the most yards (435) in a game since Saban’s first year at Alabama in 2007—and now must face an Aggies squad that ranks fifth nationally (nearly 560 yards per game) and leads the SEC in total offense. 

    Can the Tide rebound from an emotional win and play with the same energy and effort that propelled them into the nation’s most dominant force?

    Or can the upstart Aggies exploit the holes that LSU was able to expose last week? 

    Find out everything you need to know about the meeting between the Crimson Tide and the Aggies in this complete game preview.  

Game-Day Info

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    Who: Texas A&M at Alabama

    When: Saturday, 3:30 (EDT)

    Where: Tuscaloosa, Ala.

    Stadium: Bryant-Denny Stadium, (101,821)

    TV: CBS

    Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network, Sirius Channel 91, XM Channel 91

    Internet Stream: CBSSports.com

Depth Chart for Alabama

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    Offense

    LT – 71 – Cyrus Kouandijo, SO (6’6”, 311)

    63 – Kellen Williams, JR (6’3”, 303)

     

    LG – 65 – Chance Warmack, SR (6’3”, 320)

    78 – Chad Lindsay, SO (6’2”, 290)

     

    C – 75 – Barrett Jones, SR (6’5”, 302)

    70 – Ryan Kelly, FR (6’5”, 288)

     

    RG – 61 – Anthony Steen, JR (6’3”, 303)

    77 – Arie Kouandijo, SO (6’5, 310)

     

    RT – 76 – D.J. Fluker, JR (6’6”, 335)

    79 – Austin Shepherd, SO (6’5”, 312)

     

    TE – 89 – Michael Williams, SR (6’6”, 269)

    84 – Brian Vogler, SO (6’7”, 258)

     

    H – 31 – Kelly Johnson, SR (6’3”, 230)

    82 – Harrison Jones, SO (6’4”, 244)

    21 – Brent Calloway, FR (6’1”, 217)

     

    QB – 10 – AJ McCarron, JR (6’4”, 205)

    12 – Phillip Ely, FR (6’1”, 198) OR

    6 – Blake Sims, SO (6’0”, 182)

     

    RB – 42 – Eddie Lacy, JR (6’0”, 220)

    4 – T.J. Yeldon, FR (6’2”, 216)

    17 – Kenyan Drake, FR (6’1”, 204)

     

    WR (X) – 9 – Amari Cooper, FR (6’1”, 198)

    80 – Marvin Shinn, FR (6’3”, 198)

     

    WR (Z) – 83 – Kevin Norwood, JR (6’2”, 195)

    7 – Kenny Bell, JR (6’1”, 180)

     

    WR (H) – 22 – Christion Jones, SO (5’11, 185)

    8 – Cyrus Jones, FR (5’10”, 192)

     

     

    Defense

    DE – 49 – Ed Stinson, JR (6’4”, 282)

    8 – Jeoffrey Pagan, SO (6’4”, 285)

     

    NG – 54 – Jesse Williams, SR (6’4”, 320)

    62 – Brandon Ivory, SO (6’4”, 315)

     

    DE – 92 – Damion Square, SR (6’3”, 286)

    90 – Quinton Dial, SR (6’6”, 304)

     

    Sam OLB – 42 – Adrian Hubbard, SO (6’6”, 248)

    19 – Jonathan Atchison, JR (6’3”, 236)

     

    Mike ILB – 33 – Trey Depriest, SO (6’2”, 245), or 35 – Nico Johnson, SR (6’3”, 245)

    18 – Reggie Ragland, FR (6’2”, 247)

     

    Will ILB – 35 – Nico Johnson, SR (6’3”, 245). or 32 – C.J. Mosley, JR (6’2”, 232)

    11 – Tana Patrick, JR (6’3”, 236)

     

    Jack OLB – 47 – Xzavier Dickson, SO (6’3”, 262)

    30 – Denzel Devall, FR (6’2”, 243)

     

    CB – 28 – Dee Milliner, JR (6’1”, 199)

    10 – John Fulton, JR (6’0”, 187)

     

    CB – 13 – Deion Belue, JR (5’11”, 179)

    24 – Geno Smith, FR (6’0”, 182)

     

    SS – 37 – Robert Lester, SR (6’2”, 210)

    3 – Vinnie Sunseri, SO (6’0”, 215)

     

    FS –6 – HaHa Clinton-Dix, SO (6’1”, 209) OR 27 – Nick Perry, JR (6’1”, 208)

    26 – Landon Collins, FR (6’0”, 202)

     

     

    Special Teams

    PK – 5 – Jeremy Shelley, SR (5’10”, 165), or 43 – Cade Foster, JR (6’1, 218)

     

    KO – 43 – Cade Foster, JR (6’1”, 218)

     

    HOLD – 10 – AJ McCarron, JR (6’4”, 210)

    3 – Vinnie Sunseri, SO (6’0”, 215)

     

    P – 29 – Cody Mandell, JR (6’4”, 202)

    5 – Jeremy Shelley, SR (5’10”, 165)

     

    SN – 51 – Carson Tinker, SR (6’1”, 220)

    31 – Kelly Johnson, SR (6’3”, 230)

     

    PR – 22 – Christion Jones, SO (5’11”, 185)

    8 – Cyrus Jones, FR (5’10”, 192)

     

    KR – 22 – Christion Jones, SO (5’11”, 185)

    28 – Dee Milliner, JR (6’1”, 199)

    8 – Cyrus Jones, FR (5’10”, 192)

    83 – Kevin Norwood, JR (6’2”, 195)

Depth Chart for Texas A&M

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    Offense

    WR – 13 – Mike Evans, FR (6’5”, 218)

    11 – Derel Walker, JR (6’2”, 185) –OR—

    9 – Nate Askew, JR (6’4”, 220)

     

    LT – 76 –Luke Joeckel, JR (6’6”, 310)

    74 – Germain Ifedi, FR (6’5”, 338)

     

    LG – 51 – Jarvis Harrison, SO (6’3”, 320)

    74 – Germain Ifedi, FR (6’5”, 338)

     

    C – 61 – Patrick Lewis, SR (6’2”, 312)

    56 – Mike Matthews, FR (6’3”, 260)

     

    RG – 70 – Cedric Ogbuehi, SO (6’5”, 295)

    68 – Ben Compton, SO (6’4”, 307)

     

    RT – 75 – Jake Matthews, JR (6’5”, 305)

    79 – Joseph Cheek, FR (6’7”, 300)

     

    TE – 19 – Michael Lamothe, SR (6’3”, 235)

    81 – Nehemiah Hicks, JR (6’4”, 243)

     

    WR – 7 – Uzoma Nwachukwu, SR (6’0”, 194)

    23 – Sabian Holmes, FR (5’11”, 175)

     

    WR – 25 – Ryan Swope, SR (6’0”, 206)

    84 – Malcome Kennedy, SO (6’0”, 200)

     

    WR – 5 – Kenric McNeal, SR (6’1”, 184)

    8 – Thomas Johnson, FR (5’11”, 185)

     

    QB – 2 – Johnny Manziel, FR (6’1”, 200)

    16 – Matt Joeckel, SO (6’4”, 234) –OR—

    3 – Jameill Showers, SO (6’1”, 219)

     

    TB – 1 – Ben Malena, JR (5’8”, 195) 

    33 – Christine Michael, SR (5’11”, 220) –OR—

    20 – Trey Williams, FR (5’8”, 185)

     

     

    Defense

    DE – 95 – Julien Obioha, FR (6’4”, 255)

    72 – Gavin Stansbury, SO (6’4”, 270)

     

    NG – 42 – Kirby Ennis, JR (6’4”, 300)

    92 – Jonathan Mathis, SR (6’2”, 300)

     

    DT – 99 – Spencer Nealy, SR (6’5”, 277)

    89 – Ivan Robinson, SO (6’3”, 270)

     

    RUSH – 94 – Damontre Moore, JR (6’4”, 250)

    35 – Tyrell Taylor, SO (6’4”, 212)

     

    WLB – 45 – Steven Jenkins, JR (6’2”, 220)

    36 – Donnie Baggs, SO (6’1”, 230)

     

    MLB– 11 – Jonathan Stewart, SR (6’4”, 244)

    43 – Justin Bass, SO (6’2”, 217)

     

    SLB – 10 – Sean Porter, SR (6’2”, 230)

    33 – Michael Richardson, FR (6’2”, 230)

     

    CB – 22 – Dustin Harris, SR (6’0”, 175) –OR—

    7 – Tramain Jacobs, JR (6’1”, 190)

     

    CB – 29 – Deshazor Everett, SO (6’0”, 181)

    1 – De’Vante Harris, FR (5’10”, 175)

    14 – Floyd Raven, Sr., SO (6’1”, 190)

     

    BS – 31 – Howard Matthews, SO (6’2”, 206)

    30 – Johntel Franklin, JR (6’2”, 200)

     

    FS – 21 – Steven Terrell, SR (5’10”, 193)

    4 – Toney Hurd, Jr., JR (5’9”, 180)

     

     

    Special Teams

    K – 24 – Taylor Bertolet, FR (5’9”, 174)

    49 – Josh Lambo, SO (6’0”, 215)

     

    P – 48 – Ryan Epperson, SR (6’2”, 195)

    38 – Drew Kaser, SO (6’3”, 220)

     

    Holder – 48 – Ryan Epperson, SR (6’2”, 195)

     

    SNP – 75 – Jake Matthews, JR (6’5”, 305)

     

    KOR – 20 – Trey Williams, FR (5’8”, 185)

     

    PR – 22 – Dustin Harris, SR (6’0”, 175)

What Happened to the Crimson Tide Last Week

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    Alabama trailed for most of the fourth quarter before rallying for a touchdown in game’s final minute to defeat LSU 21-17 in another classic between the two rivals.

    The Tide won despite being outgained by nearly 100 yards and converting just one of nine tries on third down. 

    After having a woeful performance for most of the evening, quarterback A.J. McCarron delivered a drive that will be remembered for years to come by the Tide faithful.

    The five-play, 72-yard march culminated with him hitting running back T.J. Yeldon for a 28-yard touchdown on well-timed screen pass. 

    The win snapped LSU’s 22-game home winning streak and helped the Crimson Tide remain atop the BCS standings.  

What Happened to the Aggies Last Week

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    While it may not be as impressive as winning in Death Valley, the Aggies went on the road for a date at No. 15 Mississippi State and came away with a convincing 38-13 win over the Bulldogs. 

    Texas A&M jumped out to a 31-0 lead early in the second half and was never seriously threatened by the home-standing Bulldogs. 

    Freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel continued his magical season by accounting for 440 of the Aggies' 693 yards of total offense and a pair of rushing scores. 

    The win moved the Aggies to 7-2 (4-2 in the SEC) and helped them climb to No. 15 in the latest BCS standings.  

What It Means to Both Teams

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    A win for the Crimson Tide would sew up the SEC’s Western Division and clinch a berth in the SEC title game on Dec. 1 in Atlanta. 

    The Aggies could keep their slim hopes of capturing the West alive by knocking off the defending national champions.

    However, a win for A&M would be more important for the program’s long-term future in the SEC.

    A marquee victory against Alabama would assure that they can, in fact, thrive in the toughest league in the country under the direction of first-year head coach Kevin Sumlin.  

Key Player for Alabama

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    After having a quiet game against LSU, the matchup with the Aggies should mean a lot more action for linebacker C.J. Mosley. 

    While Alabama may be forced to alter its 3-4 scheme to get more defensive backs on the field in an effort to counter A&M’s speed, Mosley’s versatility ensures that he will be on the field for a majority of the afternoon on Saturday. 

    With A&M’s spread attack putting so much stress on defenses to cover ground against the run and pass, Mosley’s ability to be equally effective in either situation should make him an integral part of the Tide’s defensive game plan.  

Key Player for Texas A&M

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    Simply put, the man known as “Johnny Football” has been must-see TV in his debut season in College Station. 

    While he has stocked more than a career’s worth of highlight reels this season, Manziel—who ranks second nationally in total offense accounting for roughly 383 yards per game—will face a different animal this weekend.

    Despite last weekend’s struggles, Alabama still ranks second nationally in total defense—with dominating efforts against dual-threat quarterbacks like Michigan’s Denard Robinson and Mississippi State’s Tyler Russell highlighting their efforts.  

    Manziel has to step his game up another notch if he wants to prove that he has learned from mistakes like the ones he made late in the Aggies' 24-19 loss to LSU.  

Alabama Will Win If ...

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    Alabama will win if it can play the game at its pace and not let Texas A&M’s high-powered offense establish a rhythm. 

    With their receivers struggling to stay healthy, the Tide may opt to lean on their punishing ground game powered by Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon.

    That duo combined to rush for 159 yards and average more than seven yards per carry against LSU’s vaunted defense. 

    Both LSU and Florida—two SEC powers that struggled against the Aggies before putting them away in the fourth quarter—have proven that A&M’s defense can be worn down by sticking with the ground game.  

Texas A&M Will Win If ...

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    The Aggies will win if they can achieve balance on offense and convert their red-zone opportunities into touchdowns against a rugged Tide defense. 

    The trip to Bryant-Denny Stadium will easily represent the most hostile environment A&M has seen this season, so it is important for the Aggies to maintain their composure and avoid self-destructing. 

    That is especially true early in the game, where Alabama has feasted all season long by putting its opponents in a huge hole by the end of the first quarter. 

    On the flip side, defensive end Damontre Moore—who is tied for the lead nationally with 11.5 sacks this season—and his cohorts on the defensive line have to be active and find a way to get pressure on McCarron.  

Prediction

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    Kevin Sumlin has brought his high-powered offense to the SEC with glowing success to date, but his club’s lone two losses came to a pair of the league’s better defenses in LSU and Florida. 

    Manziel is a special talent that is capable of lighting up any scoreboard in the country, but his discipline will be tested facing a smart and physically aggressive Tide defense. 

    There will be better days ahead for “Johnny Football,” but Saturday will not be one of them. 

    After its emotional win over LSU, look for Alabama to come out with a renewed sense of urgency by trying to set the tone early in this game. 

    I expect the combination of what should be a rowdy atmosphere and a dialed-in Tide squad to jump on a young Aggies club early and cruise to a division-clinching victory. 

    Prediction: Alabama 38, Texas A&M 20

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