The #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (9-0, 6-0 in SEC) remain undefeated and look to keep their national championship aspirations intact this week as they host the #15 Texas A&M Aggies (7-2, 4-2 in SEC) and their phenomenal freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel in an SEC grudge match.
The Aggies enter the game averaging 308.2 passing yards gained per game (19th in FBS), 251.3 rushing yards gained per game (10th in FBS), 44.7 points scored per game (4th in FBS), 377.1 total offensive yards allowed per game (48th in FBS) and 21 points allowed per game (27th).
The Texas A&M offense runs soley on the production of Manziel and they will need the first-year signal caller to have the game of his young career versus the number defense in the nation. This season the player known as Johnny Football has passed for 2,527 yards, 16 touchdowns, six interceptions and completed 66.6% of his attempts while rushing for another 922 yards and 15 touchdowns on just 138 carries. Manziel will need to get the ball in the hands of Mike Evans (56 receptions for 802 yards and 2 TD) and Ryan Swope (45 receptions for 641 yards and 5 TD) when he is airing the ball out. When the Aggies look to run the other player to watch for when Manziel isn’t taking off and running himself are Ben Malena (96 carries for 637 yards and 6 TD) and Christine Michael (69 carries for 321 yards and 8 TD). In order for the Aggies to come away with a victory in this contest they will need a perfect storm of all of the players named above to have exceptional games; if not then I’m quite sure you know the rest.
The Tide enter the game averaging 215.7 passing yards gained per game (81st in FBS), 209 rushing yards gained per game (24th in FBS), 38.4 points scored per game (17th in FBS), 228.9 total offensive yards allowed per game (2nd in FBS) and 9.1 points allowed per game (1st in FBS). I’m more than certain that Nick Saban will have his team ready to go in this game after almost losing last week.
A.J. McCarron (1,849 yards, 19 TD, 0 INT and completed 66.7% of his attempts) will once again be called upon to be the ultimate game manager in college football as he has several times this season. The running back duo of freshman T.J. Yeldon (104 carries for 725 yards and 7 TD along with 8 receptions for 122 yards and a TD) and senior Eddie Lacy (120 carries for 679 yards and 8 TD) will called upon to do most of the heavy lifting for the Alabama offense and I’m almost certain that they will do a fabulous job against this A&M defensive unit. When McCarron is asked to pass the ball he will definitely look in the direction of Amari Cooper to make plays for him, who has hauled in 32 receptions for 472 yards and five touchdowns this season. The Bama defense as always will be the headliners in this one so look for Robert Lester and Dee Millner to make plays in the secondary and Jesse Williams to try and stop Johnny Football from having an impressive game.
Manziel is without question the most incredible freshman this season but he isn’t quite ready to pull this upset off, look for Bama to dominate early and never relinquish the lead. The Tide will roll 31 – 13 in this one.