Texas A&M rode a big fourth quarter to a come-from-behind win against South Carolina last week, but there’s no time to celebrate when you’re playing in the SEC.
The Aggies (4-1, 2-0 SEC) will bring a four-game winning streak into their home clash with unbeaten Alabama on Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Here are five things you should know about this matchup:
1. The quarterbacks
Freshman Kellen Mond has grabbed the Aggies starting quarterback job with both hands, and has played a bit better each week. On the season, he’s 69 for 126 passing for 808 yards, 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He has 252 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
He completed 19 of 27 throws for 159 yards last week, and his 95 rushing yards led the Aggies in that department for the second week in a row.
Alabama’s Jalen Hurts is the prototype for dual-threat quarterbacks in the league. On the season, he has completed 57 of 89 passes for 747 yards, 6 touchdowns and no interceptions. He has a team-high 461 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground.
He’s fourth in the SEC in passer rating (156.8) and is the only starter in the conference who has yet to throw an interception.
2. Series history
Alabama holds a 7-2 lead in the series, including a 33-14 win in Tuscaloosa last season. The Aggies’ last win was a 29-24 road victory in 2012, during the Johnny Manziel era.
3. The opening line
Texas A&M is a 26.5-point underdog on its home field. The over/under is 54.5.
4. Player to watch
Junior defensive end Landis Durham isn’t listed as a starter on the A&M depth chart, but he plays often enough to have 5.5 sacks on the season, which ties him for second in the SEC.
He’s had 2 sacks in each of the Aggies’ last two games, which likely puts him near the top of Alabama’s pass protection plans. The Crimson Tide have allowed only 4 sacks this season.
5. What’s at stake
One sure-fire way to banish the bad memory of the UCLA loss forever to is upend Alabama. As a huge underdog, it’s a low-pressure situation for the Aggies.
Anything can happen, particularly in the friendly confines of Kyle Field. But there’s no sugarcoating the fact that Alabama is the toughest test Texas A&M has faced all season.
It will take the Aggies’ best effort, and a few mistakes from the Tide, but the opportunity is there. Imagine what a win would mean for Kevin Sumlin, and what it could mean for the rest of this season.
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