Alabama Football: Offensive Report Card vs Texas A&M

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite missing starting quarterback Bryce Young, being minus three in the turnover column, and missing two late field goals, Alabama Football survived with a 24-20 victory over Texas A&M. The offense showed some flashes of promise, but largely struggled throughout this game.

As many feared, Alabama was one-dimensional in the game. It had no reliable passing game and struggled to convert third downs. Even with these struggles, Alabama could’ve won the game comfortably. Four turnovers gifted an anemic Texas A&M offense 17 points, and nearly cost the Crimson Tide the game.

Alabama Football Quarterbacks: C-

Jalen Milroe’s first career start for Alabama Football was a wild one. Milroe made a handful of really good plays, but countered them with a couple disastrous ones. Overall, he wasn’t able to bring rhythm to the offense or consistently move the ball.

Jalen Milroe seemed too amped early, and missed some wide open receivers. He lost two fumbles on strip sacks in the second quarter, and each led directly to a Texas A&M touchdown. Milroe then threw an interception on an underthrown ball, capping off a stretch in which he turned the ball over three times in four possessions.

After these turnovers, Milroe seemed rattled. He was antsy in the pocket and unsure of himself for the remainder of the game. He finished 12 of 19 passing for only 111 yards.

The salvaging factors for Jalen Milroe were that he continued to be a weapon on the ground, and managed to squeeze three touchdown passes out of his 12 completions.

The quarterback finished with 83 yards on 17 carries, and at times was able to keep drives alive with his legs. The threat of his running ability also occupied defenders and opened up running lanes for Jahmyr Gibbs and the Alabama running backs.

Milroe’s first good throw of the game was a 10-yard strike down the seam to tight end Cameron Latu for the game’s first touchdown. A couple possessions later, he hit Jermaine Burton in stride on a slant for a 35-yard touchdown. Early in the third quarter, he found Ja’Corey Brooks on a shallow crossing route which Brooks took down the sideline and 29 yards to the house.

Jalen Milroe’s game was intriguing because the positive plays he made were ultimately enough to win the game, but his mistakes kept A&M in it, and could’ve easily cost the Tide. The bottom line is that the offense Milroe orchestrated is not a long-term solution that is conducive to Alabama football achieving its goals.

Alabama Football Running Backs: B+

Jahmyr Gibbs was a major feature of the offense for a second straight week. After receiving 25 carries in the first four games, Gibbs has run the ball 39 times in Alabama’s last two games. He ran for a game high 154 yards on 21 totes against A&M, and was arguably the best offensive player in the game.

Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams spelled Gibbs, combining for 51 yards on 13 attempts. McClellan lost a fumble, but otherwise had some good chain-moving runs.

Between this running back group and Jalen Milroe, Alabama was able to run the ball effectively for most of the night.

Alabama Football Receivers: B

Due to the quarterback situation, the Alabama receivers simply did not have many opportunities to impact this game. Alabama leaned on the run, and Jalen Milroe was unable to regularly get his playmakers the ball downfield.

A week after being major difference-makers against Arkansas, the trio of Kobe Prentice, Jojo Earle, and Isaiah Bond were virtually non-existent against A&M. Only Prentice had a reception, and he finished the game with just one receiving yard.

Junior Traeshon Holden was also a non-factor, losing yardage on his only reception before leaving the game with an apparent injury. Sophomore Ja’Corey Brooks and junior Jermaine Burton were able to generate Alabama’s only big plays in the passing game, each reeling in their third touchdown reception of the season.

It seems that this relative dip in the receivers’ upward trajectory was a direct result of the quarterback play. Assuming Bryce Young is healthy enough to play next week, this group should continue its positive progression.

Alabama Football Offensive Line: A-

The Alabama offensive line has quickly become a strength of the team, and the unit played a huge role in this week’s victory. Despite allowing four sacks, the line provided good protection for most of the game. A couple of these sacks were the result of slow-developing plays and hesitant, indecisive quarterback play.

On the ground, the offensive line continued to pave huge holes and cutback lanes. Alabama’s running game was one of the main reasons it was able to secure the victory. The Tide ran for 288 yards on 5.6 yards per carry despite being almost entirely one-dimensional.

The only knock on the offensive line was its inability to create a push on Alabama’s final drive of the game. Needing just one first down to essentially end the game, Alabama ran three straight times for just eight yards and had to concede possession, ultimately leaving the door open for the Aggies.

Next. Bama defense comes up big. dark

It can be extremely tough to run the ball in these predictable situations, but a championship caliber offensive line will find a way to do it.