COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Aggies suffered their first loss on Saturday as No. 1 Alabama claimed a 49-42 victory over Texas A&M at Kyle Field. Here are three things we learned about the Aggies:
Run defense must improve: It almost sounds like a broken record after the first two weeks. The Aggies allowed 306 rushing yards to Rice, 240 to Sam Houston State and 234 on Saturday against Alabama. The good news is the total keeps getting lower, but the bad news is they're still allowing more than 200 rushing yards per game. The Crimson Tide used that to their advantage, extending long drives to control the pace of the game and score methodically while keeping the Aggies' offense on the sideline. The fact that A&M got several key players back from suspensions, including linebacker Steven Jenkins and defensive end Gavin Stansbury on Saturday will help, but they still must get better.
The secondary and pass rush can get better, too: There's an injury back there (Floyd Raven missed the game with a collarbone injury) but the Aggies were beat in the air routinely on Saturday by the Crimson Tide. Quarterback AJ McCarron threw for 334 yards and four touchdowns on 20-of-29 passing. He was rarely pressured -- the Aggies had zero sacks and only one quarterback hurry during the day. The secondary's job becomes harder when there's no pass rush. Tackling can get better, too.
Other receivers are emerging: Mike Evans stole the show for the Aggies in the passing game, but others are beginning to emerge as well. Malcome Kennedy had a career-high three touchdowns in the win. Derel Walker also hauled in five passes for 66 yards after catching four passes for 57 yards last week. Tight end Cameron Clear even got in the mix on a 1-yard touchdown reception on the first drive of the game. The Aggies need players to step up after three senior starters graduated last year and it appears that's happening gradually.