The Alabama Crimson Tide’s hopes for a repeat performance in the BCS national championship game were snatched out of the air by a Texas A&M defender as the Aggies came into Tuscaloosa and defeated the defending champions by a final of 29-24.
The Aggies jumped on Alabama from the start, sprinting to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter. A&M freshman sensation Johnny Manziel was spectacular, going 24 of 31 for 253 yards and two touchdowns.
Alabama made a game of it, dominating the second quarter and closing the gap to six, then scoring the only points of the third quarter with a Jeremy Shelley field goal from 28-yards out.
But in the end, the offensive woes of the LSU game were in evidence in this game. AJ McCarron’s streak of passes without an interception was broken, with the Tide quarterback throwing two picks. McCarron went 21 of 34 for 309 yards and one fourth-quarter touchdown to freshman Amari Cooper.
The offensive game plan will be questioned, with Alabama going pass-heavy the entire game. Alabama had a mere 126 yards on the ground, with Eddie Lacy getting 16 carries for 92 yards.
Despite being outdueled on offense, Alabama was in great position to win the game late, with a first-and-goal deep in Aggie territory, but after a scramble by AJ McCarron to set up a fourth-and-goal, McCarron threw a quick screen to TJ Yeldon that was picked off, ending the drive.
After a defensive stop, Alabama forced an Aggie punt that would have given the Crimson Tide the ball with less than a minute to play, but Alabama lined up in the neutral zone, drawing an offsides penalty that gave Texas A&M a first down. A&M was then able to run out the clock and seal the win.
After the emotional come-from-behind win last week against LSU, it appears Alabama did not have enough left in the tank to answer the challenge. Offensive mistakes doomed Alabama, and going to the air so often will be second-guessed in the days to come.
Alabama is now all but out of the hunt for a fifteenth national championship. Three undefeated teams are still in the running, and Alabama will drop in the polls. If there’s any bright spot, Alabama next plays Western Carolina before hosting Auburn.