TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — Despite being without their Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and turning the ball four times, the No. 1 held Alabama in Saturday night’s 24-20 win over Texas A&M.
Bryce Young, the Crimson Tide’s star quarterback, did not play as he continues to recover from an injury to his throwing shoulder.
Sophomore Jalen Milroe struggled as his backup, throwing three touchdowns and turning the ball three times (one interception and two fumbles).
Alabama coach Nick Saban pointed to his team’s 111 passing yards, saying, “So something has to get better in the passing game.”
“I don’t blame everything on him,” he said of Milroe. “All I’m saying is that we need to do a better job of protection. We need to do a better job at route running. And we need to do a better job of making good decisions in the bag so we don’t have negative games.”
Alabama running back Jase McClellan lost a fumble, Will Reichard missed two field goals, and twice the offense made it to the end zone without placing any points on the board. Alabama’s four turnovers (6-0) were the most it has committed in a game since 2015 against Ole Miss.
A pass interference penalty gave Texas A&M (3-3) the ball at the 2-yard line with three seconds remaining in the contest. But Haynes King’s pass to Evan Stewart was incomplete.
“There are no moral victories, but it shows what we are capable of, how we play and what we can do,” said Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher. “We need to regroup next week and play our tails and get better and finish those last six games the way we need to play the rest of the year. This gives us a vision of what we can be and what we can do.”
Fisher added, “We fought. You are a good team.
Looking back at the game, Saban said it was not a “football win”.
With the Tide’s second-team quarterback, Saban said, everyone needs to play better.
“Jalen has done some good things but obviously lost some turnovers,” said Saban. “But he will live and learn. And we will live and learn with him.
“So we’ll see what progress Bryce makes next week.”
Saban said Young wanted to get in the game in the fourth quarter.
He praised Young’s leadership and encouraged Milroe throughout the tilt. Young found Milroe when the game ended and the two shared a long hug.
“Bryce is a good leader,” said Saban. “That’s what good leaders do. They lead by example.”
Milroe, who was second on the team in rushing for 83 yards, called the game a learning experience.
“I’m happy,” he said. “You know, we’re going to turn on the tape and fix whatever we need to fix, but right now I’m excited.”
Fisher scoffed at the idea that Saturday’s game was close because of Young’s absence, pointing out that the Aggies were also missing key players.
“We didn’t have Ainias Smith,” Fisher said, referring to the wide receiver, who is out with a season-ending injury. “We didn’t have a left device. We didn’t have a left guard. It’s the first time we’ve had this [defensive tackle] McKinley Jackson. We did not have [defensive lineman] Shemar Turner. We were also understaffed all year.
“We don’t look for concerns, and neither will he. i know nick He will not look for concerns. We also played a backup quarterback. So there were two good teams out there fighting and going for it.”
Alabama’s defense, led by standout linebacker Will Anderson Jr., kept the pressure on King and the Aggies all night. Anderson finished with eight of the team’s 14 quarterback rushes. He also had 12 pressings in the game, which is the most in the country this season.
King, who started for the injured Max Johnson, was fired three times.
Alabama takes to the road to No. this coming Saturday. 8 Tennessee.
ESPN’s Chris Low contributed to this report.
https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/34756251/alabama-crimson-tide-star-quarterback-bryce-young-does-not-start-texas-aggies Alabama sloppy minus Bryce Young, narrowly outlasts Texas A&M