Texas A&M Football vs. Alabama: Aggie Ground Game vs Tide Rush Defense
This has been an area where the Aggies have typically struggled mightily against Alabama. The Aggies, under Jimbo, have averaged only 3.87 YPC against the Tide overall, and have actually had a lower YPC number—and rushing number overall—in each consecutive year. Outside of the quarterback run game, it’s been really tough sledding for Texas A&M football when facing the front of the Crimson Tide.
The 2023 Aggies, however, have quietly put together an extremely consistent and efficient rushing attack. The offensive line, so troubled and plagued by injury last year, has really begun to gel quite nicely this season. The Aggies have exceeded opponent rush averages allowed in each of their last four games, usually by quite healthy margins. Against Power 5 competition, they’ve especially impressed—UGA, for example, only mustered 3.57 YPC against Auburn (who averages giving up 4.07 YPC) whereas the Aggies notched 6.33. Yes, the long run by Amari Daniels at the end had a lot to do with that, but the numbers also show that the Aggies have been quite consistent on the ground, if not explosive (in fact, if anything, the Aggies are rather inexplosive in their rushing attack). The Aggies have exceeded opponent rushing success rates allowed by 28% overall, meaning they are more consistent than opponents usually allow teams to be.
This is good news against Alabama, who has rolled out another typically dominant run defense this year. The Tide average allowing only 3.26 YPC and a 34% success rate on the ground. They hold opponents to only 83% of their normal success rate when rushing, meaning they are good at knocking teams off of schedule. In their most previous game against Mississippi State, however, the Bulldogs were able to crease up the Tide defense quite a bit, and had two players average over 5 yards per carry. That’s remarkable, and you have to think that Petrino and Fisher took notes. I think there are chances for the Aggies on the ground. I love the way this offensive line is coming together for A&M, and I think they’ll be able to move with consistency more often than not. This is a slight advantage, but an advantage nonetheless.
Advantage Score: Aggies by 1