Ranked Alabama takes on Texas A&M at College Station

Sam Craft

His stats don't necessarily jump off the page right now based mostly on the fact that Alabama has put in its reserves in games early and often this year, but he's a vital pice of the Crimson Tide defensive puzzle moving forward. The Aggies, despite a few miscues, were within striking distance late in the fourth quarter.

Sumlin noted turnovers and a couple key big plays gave Alabama some breathing room on the road.

ALABAMA AS THE NATION'S NO. 1: Alabama has played 80 games as the nation's top-ranked team since the inception of the Associated Press Poll in 1936.

Ruggs also came on in replace of an injured Calvin Ridley on a third-quarter series after Ridley, the Tide's leading receiver this season, left the field gingerly after a 30-yard completion on the third play of the second half Saturday. The Alabama Crimson Tide ground game is averaging 315.6 yards per contest, and Hurts leads the way with 461 yards and four touchdowns. He completed 13 of 22 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. UA had 220 total points after five games last season; it's ahead of that pace now with 231.

That 2015 victory featured a four-interception performance by the UA defense paired with a 236-yard, two-touchdown game from eventual Heisman Trophy victor Derrick Henry.

It's a testament to their dominance that Mond and the Aggies gave them perhaps their stiffest test of the season.

The Texas A&M Aggies have been able to be the thorn in the Alabama Crimson Tide's side in the past. 1 Oklahoma in 2002 representing the lone victory.

Alabama finished with 355 yards, led by Harris, who finished with 124 yards and a touchdown.

The Aggies' offensive line, which Sumlin and Mazzone rotated with regularity throughout most of the first four games, appears to be more set in stone heading into Alabama. The Tide has forced a three-and-out on 40 of 61 opponent drives this season for a 49.2 percent clip. Texas A&M has the ability to exploit some of them.

It doesn't seem like anybody has an answer for Hurts, who has shown better and better passing skills each week. Armani Watts leads the Texas A&M Aggies with 37 tackles, Landis Durham has 5.5 sacks and Tyrel Dodson has two interceptions. They did some things in the pass game, they had tailbacks coming out of the backfield. Perhaps Nick Saban's squad spent all of their point scoring in their last two games and are due for a bit of a let down.

But that's the thing about playing Alabama. Fitzpatrick hasn't gotten involved in Alabama's turnover frenzy, but look for that to change this week. But ever since Johnny Manziel graduated, Alabama hasn't had any reason to be scared of Texas A&M.

A&M is honoring the 1967 Southwest Conference champions that Gene Stallings coached, and Stallings intends to be at Kyle Field on Saturday despite suffering a heart attack last weekend.

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