Even though Alabama are usually applauded for their defense, there’s plenty of offense to the number one team in the nation, headed towards another national championship. While Johnny Manziel has only himself to rely on when it’s showtime, A.J. McCarro has plenty of talent around him to feel a bit more relaxed and comfortable.
In a sea-saw kind of game which had the Aggies take a 14-0 lead before Alabama scored 35 consecutive points, the Crimson Tide had enough dominant stretches and most importantly one less turnover as they ended up winning 49-42, with Manziel’s comeback attempts, which included throwing five touchdown passes, weren’t enough.
The echoes of last year’s game between the teams are gone, and all that was left was A&M simply not having a good enough defense to slow down McCarron and Alabama, finishing with 568 yards as both teams combined for 1186 yards of offense. McCarron finished with 334 yards and four touchdown passes, getting a lot of help from T.J. Yeldon, running for 150 yards, while Alabama also returned one of Manziel’s two interceptions to a touchdown.
But Alabama have to be worried about their defense giving up 42 points, even if it was a superman-like effort from Manzielwho threw for 464 yards and ran for another 98, with his team making no attempt to try and win the game in a different way. That’s tied for the 3rd-most points allowed by an AP No. 1 team on the road and are the most allowed on road in a win, with the previous high being 38 by Nebraska in 38. It was also the most points allowed by Alabama in a win in school history.
We knew we were going to have play this way on offense to have a chance in this game. I didn’t think they were going to score 42 points, but I kind of thought they would score some points and they did. With the type of offense A&M has, you have to eat up some clock and pound the ball.
McCarron was simply too good, too perfect, too flawless, even if he isn’t as good for College Ball in terms of individual performance like Manziel. He is perfect for what Alabama need, and he made the most of the running game, going 7-of-10 after a run fake, including the huge touchdown pass to Jalston Fowler with only 2:30 left to play, giving Alabama the 14 point lead and ending doubts about the identity of the winner. McCarron was calm against the pass rush, throwing all of his touchdown passes facing 5 pass rushers or more. Since the start of last season McCarron has thrown 17 touchdowns with 1 interception against five or more pass rushers.
Johnny Manziel, as always, drew most of the attention. He keeps setting SEC records and posting incredible numbers. But he also made one or two big mistakes that cost his team the game, even though it’d be ridiculous to put the blame on him for those looking to find a guilty party as to why the Aggies are now possibly out of the national championship race.
This wasn’t the Super Bowl. Alabama lost a game last year and still went on to win the national championship. Our season isn’t over.