Coming This Week
A week ago, Texas A&M was the Southeastern Conference’s most disappointing team. Now, the No. 21 Aggies (4-2, 1-2 SEC) have the most impressive win in the conference, perhaps the country. After a shaky comeback win over Colorado and back-to-back losses to Arkansas and Mississippi State, Texas A&M toppled No. 1 Alabama 41-38 on Saturday, snapping the Tide’s 19-game winning streak. The Aggies, now in year four under Jimbo Fisher (30-12 at A&M), join Alabama and Auburn as the only programs since 2000 with three or more wins over the country’s No. 1-ranked team. Last season, Texas A&M made a strong case to crack the College Football Playoff, going 8-1 during the regular season with the lone loss coming at Alabama. The Aggies came into 2021 seen as Alabama’s top challenger in the SEC West, but Fisher lost starting quarterback Haynes King against Colorado, and from there the Aggies struggled to rediscover their offense — until Saturday. The 18-point underdogs stunned the Tide behind former backup QB Zach Calzada and A&M’s suddenly resurgent defense.
Players to Watch
The SEC named Calzada the league’s offensive player of the week after his breakout performance against the Tide. The redshirt sophomore from Sugar Hill, Georgia, never broke a sweat against Alabama, completing 21 of 31 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns, including the gutsy game-tying score with three minutes left just as an Alabama defender crashed into his knee. Calzada visited the medical tent but returned to set up the game-winning score, a 28-yard field goal as time expired. On defense, a local standout is playing at an All-SEC level. Sophomore nickelback Antonio Johnson (East St. Louis) leads the Aggies with 47 tackles as a first-year starter.
He Said It
“The important thing is now (the Alabama) game’s over with. I’m tired of talking about it. It’s over. … Missouri is a very tough place to play. They’re an outstanding opponent in what they do. They play very good at their place. They play really well at home. Always have. Eleven o’clock game in the morning. You have to get going early in the game. They’re going to be right there, ready for us, waiting to knock us off. … As Nick (Saban) said last game: This is a trap game. You listen to all this stuff all week and you live in the past, that’s over with, man.” — Fisher
Mizzou played without two defensive tackles against North Texas, Darius Robinson and Realus George, and lost a third in the second half, senior starter Akial Byers. Their status for Saturday remains uncertain.
The Aggies hold an 8-7 lead, but Mizzou has won five of the last six meetings and two of three since both teams joined the SEC in 2012. Mizzou’s biggest win in the series came in 2013, when the Tigers clinched the SEC East with a 28-21 victory in the regular-season finale, remembered for Henry Josey’s go-ahead touchdown run in the final minutes. The two teams haven’t played since 2014, when the Tigers won 34-27 in College Station, Texas, thrashing the Aggies for 335 rushing yards. The first meeting came in 1957, when Paul “Bear” Bryant’s Aggies blanked Frank Broyles’ Tigers 28-0 — a year before both coaches left for Alabama and Arkansas, respectively.