The bright spot of the day for Alabama fans actually happened before the game, when former Texas A&M football players who played for Paul “Bear” Bryant were introduced to the crowd. All the former players received rousing ovations, but by far the biggest went to former Gene Stallings, who not only played for Bryant at Texas A&M, but also went on to coach the Aggies and then led Alabama to the 1992 national championship. Stallings appeared moved by the cheers and saluted both sides of the stadium crowd.
The first quarter had been Alabama’s forte this year. The Crimson Tide had outscored opponents a combined 104-6 in the first quarter before Saturday. But Alabama’s defense allowed Texas A&M to get out to a 20-0 lead after one period and spent the rest of the game playing catch up. The Aggies’ offense has started off quickly in games this season, but no one expected a three touchdown lead after 15 minutes.
By the numbers
291 — The number of passes AJ McCarron consecutively attempted before throwing an interception, the longest streak in school history. The streak was broken on an interception by Sean Porter in the first quarter.
29 — Games it had been since Alabama trailed at halftime. The last time the Tide trailed at the break before Saturday was 21-9 against South Carolina on Oct. 9, 2010.
20 — The number of points Alabama allowed in the first quarter. The Tide had given up just six points total in the opening quarter all season before Saturday.
345 — Total yards Texas A&M compiled by quarterback Johnny Manzell. Manzell completed 24 of 31 passes for 253 yards and rushed 18 times for 92 yards.
3 – The number of turnovers Alabama had in the game. Alabama had only turned the ball over eight times this season, but had three against the Aggies, including two in the fourth quarter. A lost fumble by T.J. Yeldon set up Texas A&M’s last touchdown, and AJ McCarron’s goal-line interception sealed the loss.