Recap: Alabama vs. Texas A&M
Tuscaloosa, AL (Sports Network) - Texas A&M's first-ever trip to Tuscaloosa was a memorable one.
Deshazor Everett picked off AJ McCarron with over 1 1/2 minutes remaining to help seal the 15th-ranked Aggies' 29-24 victory over the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.
McCarron's 54-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper with 6:09 to play cut the gap to 29-24.
The Crimson Tide had a chance to go in front after Texas A&M went three-and- out. Kenny Bell caught a 54-yard pass on the first play to move the ball to the six. On 4th-and-goal from the two, McCarron tried to hook up with Bell in the right side of the end zone. Everett, though, stepped in front of the pass for the interception.
It seemed like Alabama was going to have one last shot to keep its undefeated season alive. With the Aggies ready to punt on fourth down, the Crimson Tide jumped offside. Texas A&M was awarded a first down and the Aggies ran out the remaining time.
"We jumped offsides on a hard count which is something that you most certainly expect in a situation like that," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "The players were told 'make sure you stay onsides, they are going to try to get you to jump offsides with a shift or a motion or something.' The players are disappointed."
Johnny Manziel completed 24-of-31 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns for the Aggies (8-2, 5-2 SEC), who have won three in a row. He also carried the ball 18 times for 92 yards.
Christine Michael carried the ball 12 times for 27 yards and two scores. Ryan Swope hauled in 11 passes for 111 yards.
"It is big, for us and our first year in the league, we haven't talked a lot about it," Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. "We are the new guys coming in and we have to prove ourselves and we have to continue to prove ourselves week in and week out. I said all week, 'we have gotten a little bit better every week.' The past two weeks we have played pretty well on the road and our guys are playing with a lot of confidence. For these guys and this group and what they have accomplished in 10 weeks. From the spring and all the changes they have been through, it is a big deal."
McCarron connected on 21-of-34 passes for 309 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for the Crimson Tide (9-1, 6-1), who were coming off a 21-17 victory over LSU in a rematch of last season's national championship game.
Eddie Lacy carried the ball 16 times for 92 yards and a score for Alabama, which wraps up the regular season with games against Western Carolina and Auburn.
Alabama needed a win on Saturday to clinch the West and get into the SEC title game. The Crimson Tide will need some help if they want to return to the national championship game. Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame remained unbeaten by winning Saturday.
Trailing by six, 23-17, Alabama took over at its own 20 with 10 minutes to play. After Cooper caught a 50-yard pass down the right sideline, T.J. Yeldon fumbled on the next play and Dustin Harris recovered the ball for Texas A&M.
Manziel needed just two passes to pad the Aggies' lead. Swope hauled in a 42-yard pass along the right sideline to move the ball to the 24. Manziel then found Malcome Kennedy on the left side for a touchdown with 8:37 remaining. The score remained 29-17 following a failed two-point conversion.
Alabama failed to go down without a fight. On 3rd-and-6, McCarron hooked up with a wide-open Cooper down the left sideline for a 54-yard score.
But in the end, McCarron did not have a second consecutive game-winning drive in him.
Texas A&M stunned the crowd early on with 20 unanswered points to start the game. After Alabama went three-and-out, the Aggies put together a 9-play, 73- yard drive. The big play was a 29-yard Manziel run that put the ball at the 14. Michael capped the march with a 1-yard TD run.
On the fourth play of the ensuing drive, McCarron was intercepted by Sean Porter. The pick was made possible due to Howard Matthews' big hit. McCarron had a streak of 289 attempts without an interception coming into Saturday's contest.
Kenric McNeal followed with a 32-yard catch to put Texas A&M inside the red zone. A great individual effort from Manziel led to another touchdown. On 3rd- and-goal from the 10, Manziel started to scramble before almost losing control of the football. He was able to keep control and found Swope wide open in the end zone.
The Crimson Tide failed to do anything on offense again, leading to another score for the Aggies. Manziel's 32-yard run on third down moved Texas A&M into Alabama territory. Thomas Johnson converted the next third down with an 8-yard catch. Michael finished the impressive 14-play drive with a 1-yard TD run. The score remained 20-0 after Taylor Bertolet missed the extra point.
Facing their largest deficit since 2010, the Crimson Tide finally woke up. McCarron and Alabama bridged the first and second quarters with a 13-play, 75- yard drive. Lacy moved the chains with a 4-yard catch on 4th-and-4. Michael Williams' 20-yard catch set up Yeldon's 2-yard rushing touchdown.
Alabama's defense followed with a big stop, as Manziel was stopped short on 4th-and-6. McCarron then put together a 10-play march that included passes of 18 and 15 yards to Christion Jones and Cooper, respectively. Lacy's 2-yard TD run cut the gap to 20-14 with 19 seconds left until half.
The Crimson Tide continued to chip away at their deficit in the third stanza. Jeremy Shelley made a 28-yard field goal to make it 20-17 with 4:56 remaining.
Texas A&M, however, responded with a field goal of its own. The Aggies moved the ball to the Alabama 11-yard line before settling for a 29-yard Bertolet field goal.
It stayed a 23-17 contest after Bertolet missed a 37-yard field goal.Game Notes
Alabama holds a 3-2 series advantage. Saturday's game was the first between
the two schools since 1988 ... The Aggies improved to 2-10 against No. 1
teams, with the other victory being a 30-26 win over Oklahoma in 2002.