Alabama Football: How the quarterback situation favored the Aggies

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

The biggest storyline in last week’s game between Alabama Football and Texas A&M was the quarterback situation for both teams. Alabama and A&M both had injured starting quarterbacks, and early in the week there was uncertainty as to who would play.

By the time the game kicked off, it had been billed as a battle between backup quarterbacks Jalen Milroe and Haynes King. The two backups-turned-starters were in very different predicaments.

Alabama Football: “Backup QBs” not the same

A&M’s Haynes King began last season as the Aggies’ starter before going down with an injury early in the year.

After a wild offseason that saw multiple names transferring in and out of the A&M quarterback room, he won the job again this August. After two games, he had played so poorly that he was benched in favor of Max Johnson.

It wasn’t until Johnson broke his hand against Mississippi State that King was called on once again.

On the other sideline, redshirt freshman Jalen Milroe was making his first career collegiate start. Milroe backed up Heisman trophy winner Bryce Young last season, getting some snaps in mop-up duty but ultimately redshirting. His level of experience and comfort within the offense was far from that of King’s, a discarded starter.

Alabama Football: One-dimensional offense

This duel of “backup” quarterbacks ultimately gave Texas A&M a chance to win the game. While Jalen Milroe gave Alabama an added running threat and threw three touchdowns in his first start, his three first half turnovers kept the Aggies in the game.

Additionally, Milroe’s inability to make certain throws limited the Tide’s offensive playbook. This was no surprise; no one expected Milroe to step in and replace the reigning Heisman winner without a hitch.

Although he gave A&M a better chance of competing, Milroe still played well enough to win the game. Barring two rare misses from kicker Will Reichard, Milroe led the Alabama offense to 30 points in an ugly but comfortable win.

Alabama Football: Aggies needed Haynes King

As it turned out, the A&M quarterback situation also worked in the Aggies’ favor. Haynes King has been erratic as a passer and turnover prone so far this season, but it was his mobility that gave A&M a chance.

The Alabama pass rush had an enormous impact on this game. The Tide only recorded three sacks, but it also notched 14 hurries. Alabama’s linebackers chased King out of the pocket all night, contributing mightily to his subpar completion rate of 54 percent.

Still, Haynes King was able to elude numerous sacks and extend plays long enough to throw the ball away or, occasionally, create a positive play.

While Max Johnson has been a better passer and decision maker this season, he is a pro-style quarterback and doesn’t move as well as Haynes King. Had Johnson been able to suit up, Alabama might have approached double-digit sacks.

Tide vs Aggies Studs and Duds. dark. Next

Ultimately, the defense and running game secured the victory for Alabama football. The peculiar quarterback situation on both sides made the game a lot closer than Bama fans would’ve liked.