Alabama Routs Texas A&M

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — After two straight weeks of negative headlines, Alabama’s offense silenced the critics with a 45-point explosion in the first half against Texas A&M and cruised to a 59-0 victory on Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

The No. 7 Crimson Tide’s defense held the No. 21 Aggies scoreless as the Tide took a 45-0 lead into halftime.

“I was really proud of the way our players played today,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “I think this is as close to the Alabama football that we want to try to get from our players in terms of effort, toughness, emotional excitement and execution that we got throughout the game. Our approach to this game was that we wanted to find what exactly every position and player has to do and see if you can go out there and dominate your box and do your job.”

After Alabama kicked a field goal on its opening drive, the Tide scored touchdowns on its next seven possessions. The 35 points in the second quarter were the most in a quarter in school history.

Alabama outperformed the Aggies in every statistical category.

The Tide accumulated 449 of its 602 yards and 22 of 30 first downs in the first half. Led by

junior running back T.J. Yeldon, Alabama gashed the Aggies for 298 rushing yards — 226 in the first half. Yeldon gained 114 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries — all in the first half.

Sophomore running back Derrick Henry scored twice and tallied 111 total yards.

Quarterback Blake Sims completed 16 of 27 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns, and he also ran 43 yards for a touchdown.

“As an offense, we practiced hard, and we had one motto: Be better than we were last week,” Sims said. “That’s something that happened for us. As a team, we listened to our leaders. Our leaders are starting to be more outspoken, and we also listened to coach Saban.”

After a tough outing against Arkansas last week, wide receiver Amari Cooper hauled in eight passes for 140 yards and two scores. He made seven catches for 95 yards and a touchdown in the first half.

Defensively, the Tide stifled the Aggies and quarterback Kenny Hill. Texas A&M gained just 172 yards. Hill was rattled all day, completing 17 of 26 passes for just 138 yards. He was pulled in the second half for freshman Kyle Allen.

“We put Kyle in in the fourth to try to get a spark, but our problem was getting first downs,” Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. “A quarterback gets credit when we win and a lot of blame when we lose. There are 10 other guys out there on offense that make his job easier.”

Texas A&M’s ground game was also nonexistent, as the Aggies gained just 31 yards.

Yeldon scored from 9 yards late in the first quarter and 1 yard early in the second to give Alabama a 17-0 lead.

The Tide scored on all five second-quarter drives, starting with Yeldon’s run. Sims’ TD run made it 24-0, Henry finished off an 80-yard drive with an 8-yard score, and Sims followed with two TD passes. After a 47-yard punt return by Christion Jones, Sims threw a 24-yard TD pass to Cooper. He then connected with Henry on a 41-yard scoring toss.

The Crimson Tide added two touchdowns in the final 30 minutes. On the first drive of the third quarter, Sims hit Cooper in stride for a 45-yard touchdown.

The Tide’s final score came on a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jake Coker to tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith.

“It’s hard to say where we are, and I think the bye week comes at a good time,” Sumlin said. “Our message was similar to last week: We do need to look within and examine what we’re doing schematically.

“Personnel saw a bunch of new faces out there in the second half defensively. Those guys didn’t do too poorly. We need to evaluate where we are from a timing standpoint. The bye week, I think, is much needed and will also give an opportunity to really evaluate a lot of different things going on.”

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