It was the Texas A&M Aggies who got off to the great start at the beginning of the game, however, it was the Alabama Crimson Tide‘s offense that eventually decided the game. The Crimson Tide has long been known as a ground and pound offense under head coach Nick Saban — think of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson. The offense that Saban showed on Saturday against the Aggies, however, was one that moved the ball through the air and used the run game as a secondary means.
AJ McCarron was relied on early, as he threw for over 250 of his 334 yards in the first half, which kept Alabama tied with the Aggies 21-21. McCarron was able to relish in the fact that his receivers often found themselves uncovered or given plenty of space, but he did show good accuracy along with great decision making, as always.
The turnover battle was won by the Tide 2-1, which seems marginal, but in a game that ended 49-42, it was quite important. Johnny Manziel was the sole reason for the two Aggies turnovers, as he made two bad decisions on deep throws that ended up as easy interceptions for the Tide secondary.
The running game for the Tide was still important, as feature back T.J. Yeldon gained 149 of the team’s 234 yards on the ground, which led to an impressive team average of 6.3 yards per carry. McCarron, however, was near perfect in his expanded role, as he completed 20 of 29 passes, many of which were throws of over 10 yards, and threw for four touchdowns while never turning the ball over.
The defense for the Tide was thrashed for 464 yards through the air and 164 on the ground. Manziel was the main culprit in the destruction of the normally strong defense, but luckily for the Tide faithful, Saban allowed his passing attack to explode and outscore the Aggies’ dynamic offense.
McCarron, who is usually known as a “game manager” by those who evaluate quarterbacks, may be finding himself rising in the early 2014 NFL Draft boards based on his performance against Texas A&M. The season has just started, and the Tide will remain at No. 1 in the polls with an undefeated 2-0 record, but it will be interesting to see how Saban continues to utilize his senior quarterback, and potentially dominant passing offense as the year progresses.