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Alabama overcomes fast start, leads Texas A&M at half

Alabama v Texas A&M Getty Images

Alabama is leading Texas A&M at the half, 28-14, but boy has it been a wild ride to get there.

The game had all of the hype of a mid-November clash of the titans, and Johnny Manziel came ready to unload on Alabama’s defense. After winning the coin toss, Texas A&M took the football and let Manziel drive the Aggies right down field for a touchdown. The drive took seven plays but it felt like fewer with Manziel starting the game with a 12-yard yard and completing a pair of passes over 30 yards to quickly move down close to the end zone. A short pass to Cameron Clear put Texas A&M on the board. Despite the fast start, the first half would eventually be more about Alabama’s success.

After the Aggies held Alabama to a three-and-out deep in their own end, Manziel and the offense struck quickly once more to build a 14-0 lead. Alabama would settle down, driving down field and scoring a touchdown on a pass from AJ McCarron to Kevin Norwood from 22 yards. Early in the second quarter the Crimson Tide had battled back by tying the game when McCarron completed a pass to DeAndrew White, who took it to the house for a 44-yard touchdown. Brand new ballgame.

Alabama took their first lead against Texas A&M since 1988 in the second quarter, once again using a big pass play to their advantage. McCarron found Kenny Bell for a 51-yard touchdown strike that was practically uncontested by the Aggies defense. Momentum at this point appeared to be one-sided after Manziel had been picked off in the end zone.

There was a moment when the refs made a questionable call. With Texas A&M on offense, Alabama free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was called for targeting, which was cause for an immediate ejection from the game. However, the official video review overturned the ejection and allowed Clinton-Dix to remain in the game. That would have been a huge loss for the Crimson Tide if the ejection had been upheld. In this instance it looks as though the right call was ultimately made regarding the ejection.

Alabama delivered a critical blow to Texas A&M late in the first half, eating up nearly seven minutes en route to a touchdown to build a 27-14 lead, capped by a rushing touchdown by T.J. Yeldon. Yeldon got up and gave a money sign and a throat slash with his hands, causing the refs to penalize Alabama for an excessive celebration penalty. Texas A&M eventually got to take over from their own 35-yard line but Alabama held the Aggies off the scoreboard before the end of the half.

It has been a heck of a first half, and the second half should be pretty fun as well. Alabama appears to have the momentum working in their favor right now, but this is far too close to call at the half.

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4 Responses to “Alabama overcomes fast start, leads Texas A&M at half”
  1. bucrightoff says: Sep 14, 2013 5:26 PM

    So nice to see Johnny throw the game away. Bama receives the kick so this could get ugly fast.

  2. dcroz says: Sep 14, 2013 5:27 PM

    If it wasn’t targeting, then what was the foul? Once again, an example of how the NCAA doesn’t think things through when putting a rule into play.

    And speaking of which, wasn’t the kickoff touchbacks coming out to the 25 rule supposed to result in fewer runback attempts and thus fewer high-speed collisions? Why does it seems like MORE returners elect to try to run it out of the endzone, despite usually not getting to where the touchback would have gotten them?

  3. bucrightoff says: Sep 14, 2013 5:49 PM

    And a pick six now? And juked out of his shoes? Karma is doing its thing.

  4. alligatorsnapper says: Sep 14, 2013 9:11 PM

    I enjoyed the game, the ebb and flow, the jab and counter-jab. Both teams came to play, McCarron did really good and Johnny was Johnny.

    Seemed like Saban got the video of LSU playing TAMU at College Station last year and used a similar defense to produce several turnovers as LSU did last season.

    With so points being scored by both teams, I thought I was watching the Big 12, not the SEC where we usually have at least one defense.

    Congrats to Bama!

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