Texas A&M Football vs. Alabama: Tide Ground Game vs. Aggie Rush Defense
This is a convenient spot for Alabama fans, as I have seen them do here recently, to claim that the YPC numbers allowed by the Aggies are artificially inflated by the pure number of sacks that the Aggies have piled up. Maybe there’s some truth there!
The truth is, though, that even if you purely consider designed runs, the Aggies seem to have a borderline-elite rush defense. They only recorded 2 sacks against Miami, but they held the Canes—one of the best running teams in the nation—to less than 50% of their normal YPC overall. Auburn showed their ability to run the football to great effect against Georgia, but was less successful against the Aggies; in fact, they recorded their lowest rushing success rate of the year against Texas A&M football at 41%.
Auburn is a much more efficient rushing team than the Tide, exceeding opponent rushing success rates allowed by 25% whereas the Tide do so by a mark of only 15% on average. The Aggies usually allow teams to be only 67% as successful on the ground as they normally are, however; teams have a tough time finding consistency in the rushing game against Texas A&M football.
Jase McClellan is a good back. He’s an electric player, and the combination of he and Milroe on the ground is a lethal one. But so were Rocket Sanders and KJ Jefferson, and the Aggies severely limited both of them on the ground. The Tide are not good on early downs, and the Aggies have curtailed opponent run games on first and second pretty effectively thus far, so the biggest concern I would have about the Aggie rush defense would be Milroe’s scrambling on third-and-long passing situations, but he’s even less consistent than Jefferson at being able to pull that off consistently. He’s more often shown a penchant for running into sacks than away from them. He certainly is lethal in the open field, but I don’t think he’ll often get the chance to break one open against this Aggie defense.
Advantage Score: Texas A&M football by 3