Georgia football and the rest of the world watched Saturday night anxiously as Texas A&M took Alabama to the woodshed and beat them on a last-second field goal.
This upset is what makes college football so much fun to watch because, on any given day, any given team can beat another team. Like Georgia’s head coach, Kirby Smart, says, “Humility is a week away,” and the Tide got a taste of that.
No one saw this upset coming except for the die-heart Aggie fans that pick their team regardless every week. This loss sent shock waves across the country, and it slowly sunk in — Georgia would be the No. 1 ranked team in the country.
As Georgia fans, we wanted Alabama to stay perfect on the season so both teams would go into Atlanta undefeated, and when the Dawgs beat them, it would make it so much sweeter.
The Tide has won six straight, with the last victory coming in 2008 for the Dawgs — it’s long overdue that Georgia comes out on top against Alabama.
While the Dawgs very well could see the Tide still in Atlanta or the playoffs, if and when Georgia gets that victory over them, it’ll still be just as sweet.
There won’t be nearly as much pressure on Smart and his team to beat them because, well, they’ve already gotten taken down a notch. Another reason is the Dawgs could only have to see them once instead of twice if college football continues to get turned on its head this season.
Texas A&M showed the Tide isn’t invincible, and Jimbo Fisher finally did it. He is the first former Nick Saban assistant to beat him, and if Smart couldn’t be the first, Fisher would be the other choice.
Fisher created a perfect game plan for Alabama, but it also helps that their quarterback Zach Calzada overcame the last two weeks to put on a show. He went 21-of-31 for 285 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. On the ground, Alabama held the Aggies to just 94 yards, but it didn’t matter.
While Calzada was a big force, Seth Small, Texas A&M’s kicker, had two field goals — the first putting Alabama down 3-0 in the first quarter and the last to win the ball game.
Alabama amassed an incredible 522 total offensive yards outgaining the Aggies through the air and on the ground. However, three things helped Texas A&M get the victory of the year.
12th man came up big for the Aggies
This crowd was truly the 12th man for the Aggies against Alabama. So many communication errors came from the crowd being deafening.
When Alabama couldn’t get any momentum going in the first half because of back-to-back turnovers, this crowd fed off that and made it even louder.
Home field advantage can be compelling when done correctly, and the Aggie fans showed up in a big way for them on Saturday.
Aggies win the trench war
Texas A&M’s offensive and defensive fronts did an excellent job against Alabama. The defense put a ton of pressure on Young throughout the game and was able to get in his head just enough.
The Aggie defense finished the game with four sacks to Alabama’s zero. Texas A&M also had five quarterback hurries and five tackles for loss. They were in Young’s face constantly, and it paid off because, throughout the first half of the game, Alabama’s offensive drives went like this: touchdown, fumble, interception, punt, field goal, and punt.
While Alabama scored 10 points, it’s unusual to see them have multiple turnovers and punts.
Alabama’s defense did a good job, too, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t until the second half after the Aggies were already up 24-10. The Tide forced four punts in the second half, but it wasn’t enough.
Penalties stack up for the Tide
The Tide amassed eight penalties for 82 yards, almost the length of a football field in yards they either gave to Texas A&M or lost themselves on offense.
Texas A&M had six penalties for 50 yards, so it wasn’t that much better for the Aggies, but eight penalties is not a typical Alabama trait.
The Tide had one targeting penalty that allowed the Aggies to keep going down the field and kick a field goal.
There were two false start penalties for Alabama’s offense and three holding calls. However, the two most costly errors came deep in the game with two defensive pass interference calls.
That last pass interference call came on a 2nd and 7 for the Aggies on their final drive of the game. Alabama gave the Aggies an automatic first down on their 12-yard line, which set Texas A&M up to kick the game-winning field goal.
If Alabama didn’t have that interference call, the game-winner would have been much more challenging than it was.
Why and how it benefits Georgia football
The Aggies gave the Dawgs a path to beat Alabama. Put pressure on the quarterback and limit the explosive plays. Of course, Georgia fans know this one, but now that the Aggies have given the weaknesses, other teams can attempt to exploit them.
Georgia’s front seven is more elite than the Aggies, so if the Dawgs can sack Young a few times and force him out of the pocket, it increases the chances of success.
The Dawgs could still see Alabama twice this year, but maybe not. IF Georgia does meet them in Atlanta and beats them — the playoff committee doesn’t have an argument for putting them into the playoffs. There is no way a two-loss Alabama team would go in over a one-loss or undefeated squad.
Texas A&M put together a complete game and played their hearts out, which resulted in them doing the impossible. They also gave the remaining SEC teams that have to face Alabama a road map on how to beat them in the future.
This Alabama team isn’t the same monster we’re used to seeing, so this is the year to take advantage of it.