- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
Texas A&M did what many thought they couldn't, going into Tuscaloosa, Ala., and stunning the nation's No. 1-ranked team by pulling out a 29-24 victory over Alabama on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. It was a game with a lot of twist, turns and thrills for both squads. Let's see the good and the bad for the No. 15 Aggies in their win:
1. Johnny Manziel: The redshirt freshman quarterback might have just thrown himself fully into the Heisman Trophy race with his performance. He finished 24-of-31 passing for 253 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. On the ground, he had 92 yards on 18 carries and even showed the speed necessary to get away from the Crimson Tide's vaunted defense on occasion. He also made some big-time throws from the pocket.
2. The defense: Yes, the Aggies allowed some big plays. And yes, the Crimson Tide compiled 431 yards. But the strong start by the defense helped the Aggies take a commanding 20-0 lead in the first quarter by coming up with an interception and forcing two punts on Alabama's first three drives. They did one thing they haven't always been able to do, which is get turnovers. They came up with three while the offense committed none. Overall a solid day for the 'D.'
3. Ryan Swope: The senior receiver has been playing some of his best ball as of late, and on Saturday he continued that high level of play. He caught 11 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. He made some impressive catches, including a 42-yard reception along the right sideline and one in which he took a helmet-to-helmet hit and managed to hang on.
1. Kicking game: Once again there were miscues in this department. Redshirt freshman kicker Taylor Bertolet missed a field goal and an extra point. He was 1-of-2 on field goals and 2-of-3 on PATs. For the season, he's 12-of-21 on field goals (57.1 percent). And he has missed five PATs (now 49-of-54 for the year).
2. Big plays on D: The Crimson Tide hit on some big plays during their comeback attempt. The Aggies allowed some big plays in the passing game, including a 50-yard pass from A.J. McCarron to Amari Cooper, a 54-yard TD pass from McCarron to Cooper and a 54-yard pass to Kenny Bell, all of which came in the fourth quarter.
3. Running back rushing totals: While Manziel was productive running the football, the Crimson Tide limited the Aggies' running backs and kept them from having huge impacts. Ben Malena had 50 yards on 14 carries (3.6 yard average) while Christine Michael had 27 yards on 12 carries, (2.3 yard average) though he did have two touchdowns.
Texas A&M did what many thought they couldn't, going into Tuscaloosa, Ala., and stunning the nation's No. 1-ranked team by pulling out a 29-24 victory over Alabama on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.