Alabama escapes Texas A&M in deafening 24-20 thriller

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Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe (4) celebrates against Texas A&M at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, AL on Saturday, Oct 8, 2022.

By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Hunter De Siver

The Texas A&M game was more than a matchup between two SEC schools. Last year, the unranked Aggies shocked the world by taking down the top-ranked Crimson Tide in College Station, Texas. Head coaches Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher also had a feud this offseason over the payment of recruits.

To increase the hype even more, the game was set to be played at night.

The Aggies were ranked No. 6 in the preseason poll, meaning that this game was eventually expected to be the site of the weekly College Gameday show. However, Texas A&M had lost two of their first five games, leading to an absence in the Top 25 and a lack of interest for the popular Saturday morning show to come to Tuscaloosa.

Young was listed as a game-time decision after he sprained his shoulder against Arkansas the game prior. As the week rolled by, no status about the reigning Heisman Trophy winner was given for the game.

Before every kickoff in Bryant-Denny Stadium, the four screens across the corners of BDS displayed the starting lineups for each team. Young’s name was announced and the 100,000 fans cheered and enthusiastically rocked their shakers. When the Tide offense stormed onto the field, fans gazed around for a crimson jersey with the No. 9. But it wasn’t there. Instead, Milroe was under center. Everyone was confused and they assumed Young would play at some point during the game, as he was spotted on the sideline with his helmet on.

The scoring didn’t start until this second quarter, after both teams combined for seven punts.

Milroe found tight end Cameron Latu for a 10-yard touchdown to break the ice. Then, as the lights of BDS turned brighter and occasionally red, the game really started.

The Aggies took advantage of two Milroe fumbles to tie the game twice. The scrambling quarterback threw an interception towards the end of the first half, but an interception by Tide cornerback Terrion Arnold led to a 50-yard field goal by Will Reichard to give them a 17-14 lead heading into the locker room.

The second half was similar to the first quarter: sloppy and full of mistakes.

Milroe threw a 29-yard touchdown to Ja’Corey Brooks to open up the half, but punts, fumbles, missed field goals and a couple of Aggie kicks through the uprights made the score 24-20 with 3:32 remaining.

Milroe and the offense had the opportunity to put the game away with a few first downs. Running back Jahmyr Gibbs was heading north for another 150 yards rushing game. This time, the Aggies forced a three-and-out and had possession with 1:45 remaining.

This was the first time all night that the crowd was unsure of the outcome. To help decide, they got loud. Like, the loudest it has been in BDS in a couple of years.

Similar to Alabama, Texas A&M starting quarterback Max Johnson suffered an injury that would sideline him for this game. Backup QB Haynes King was having a solid game up to this point: 207 passing yards, two touchdowns and an interception against the top-ranked team in the United States.

Players like Dallas Turner, Will Anderson Jr, Chris Braswell and more led the Tide in this somewhat-defensive battle. All of this talent plus 100,000 people screaming at the top of their lungs combined with millions watching at home against a backup quarterback.

King led the Aggies to the Tide’s 15-yard line with 23 seconds remaining. It only got louder from here.

Two incompletions later, King threw a pass in the end zone, but it was intercepted by Jordan Battle, who kneeled with about six seconds remaining. However, the refs called a pass interference, leading the Aggies to one last play from two yards out.

It was now the loudest it had been all night. The Million Dollar Band was seen blasting their instruments, but you couldn’t even hear them.

King was a play away from being crowned in a small fraternity of quarterbacks to beat Alabama since 2009.

King immediately threw toward the right pylon, but Arnold blanketed wide receiver Evan Stewart to force the incompletion as time expired. Some of the college football community argued that pass interference should’ve been called, but no matter the sport, the refs normally swallow their whistles on the final play.

The game was over. Students that didn’t even know each other were hugging because of the amazing game they saw right in front of them.

Alabama dropped to No. 3 in the AP Poll on account of their subpar but thrilling performance. College Gameday is headed to Knoxville, Tennessee, for the second time this season as the Tide will play the No. 6 Volunteers at 2:30 p.m. on CBS. This will likely be Alabama’s toughest game this season.

Categories: Alabama, College Sports, Sports