The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide held off the pesky Texas A&M Aggies 27-19 Saturday night at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, behind a stout defensive showing and a bruising performance from junior running back Damien Harris.
Harris, who managed 67 yards on seven carries last week against Ole Miss, gashed the Aggies to the tune of 14 carries for 124 yards, including a 75-yard scoring scamper in the first quarter.
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
The Tide rolls through another opponent 💪 No. 1 Bama stays undefeated with a win over Texas A&M https://t.co/y0Gn3nzSkf2017-10-8 02:39:20
Alabama is now 6-0 on the season, including 3-0 in SEC play. The Aggies, meanwhile, dropped to 4-2, including 2-1 against conference foes.
Texas A&M entered Saturday's clash as 25.5-point underdogs, according to Odds Shark, so the result was hardly surprising.
Although the Crimson Tide fell behind 3-0 a shade over five minutes into the first quarter, they erased that deficit 13 seconds later when Harris bolted to the house past a bevy of Aggies defenders, much to the delight of former Alabama running back Mark Ingram:
Mark Ingram II @MarkIngram22
That boy 34 the real deal I repeat the real deal #RollTide2017-10-7 23:36:12
Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer also had some high praise for the game's leading rusher:
Adam Kramer @KegsnEggs
Damien Harris is Muscle Hamster 2.02017-10-8 00:34:33
And as has generally been the case this season, quarterback Jalen Hurts was called upon to be a game manager. He completed 13 of 22 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown.
Hurts also added 14 carries for 56 yards and a touchdown to his final line. He's now topped 50 yards rushing in all but one game (Week 4 against Vanderbilt) this season.
That said, it wasn't an efficient evening for the sophomore. The Crimson Tide went a paltry 4-of-14 on third downs, and sloppy second-half execution allowed Texas A&M to hang around.
Aggies true freshman signal-caller Kellen Mond had his hands full against the nation's top-ranked scoring defense, but he showed flashes of brilliance.
Faced with a pocket that was constantly collapsing around him, Mond finished 19-of-29 for 237 yards with two total touchdowns and an interception. Those numbers were a product of Alabama's pressure and Texas A&M's reluctance to let him stretch the field vertically.
The Aggies' running game was similarly held in check, as Mond, Keith Ford and Trayveon Williams combined for 40 carries for 71 yards.
As those figures suggest, defense remains Alabama's calling card.
However, the offense should have a golden chance to get back on track Oct. 14 against an Arkansas Razorbacks team that surrendered 48 points to the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday.
The Aggies, on the other hand, will attempt to get back in the win column in Week 7 when they travel to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for a meeting with the Florida Gators.