Alabama Football: Five times defense slammed the door on Texas A&M

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(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

After Downs’ interception, the Tide started rolling and took a 24-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter. This stretch included two quieter (but massively important) stops by the Bama defense.

Late in the third quarter, the unit turned away A&M running back Le’Veon Moss on a 3rd and short once again. Perhaps hesitant after getting burned by his earlier decision, Jimbo Fisher opted to punt on a 4th & 1 in Bama territory.

On the Aggies’ first possession of the fourth quarter, Bama got another big third down stop. Wide receiver Ainias Smith beat Terrion Arnold by a couple steps, and could’ve scored a game-tying touchdown if not for a slightly underthrown ball by Johnson. Arnold never gave up on the play, hustling to recover and break up the pass.

The underthrow cost A&M the touchdown, but the effort by Arnold denied A&M a big gain and a third down conversion. Just like that, the golden opportunity evaporated and A&M was forced to punt in plus-territory once again.

3. Alabama Football: Chris Braswell erases an Aggie scoring opportunity

When an untimely Jermaine Burton fumble gave the ball right back to Texas A&M already in field goal range, the Aggie offense had a third straight chance to tie the game. Led by its pass rush, the Alabama defense forced a three & out to get yet another stop.

This time, A&M was close enough to attempt a field goal to chip into the lead. However, Alabama senior outside linebacker Chris Braswell found a gap in the protection and blocked the kick, and the Ags came up empty again.

Braswell’s ensuing return for a touchdown was negated by a penalty, meaning the Tide would need a couple more stops to cement the victory.