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Alabama vs. Texas A&M preview: When Alabama has the ball

It’s the toughest defense Alabama has faced thus far... But can they slow down Tua?

NCAA Football: Alabama at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas A&M defense is giving up right around 300 yards per game and 17.8 points per game thus far in 2019. Of that, 191 yards are through the air and 109 are on the ground, which comes in at 21st in the country in total defense. The Aggie success rate on defense is 35.65% which is good for 27th in the country. After Saturday, this Aggie squad will have been the toughest defense that Alabama has played so far this season.

The Texas A&M defense is led by defensive coordinator Mike Elko, whom is in his second season with the Aggies and previously was the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame. Elko’s defense runs a 4-2-5, which has four linemen, two linebackers, and five defensive backs on even base situations. This season statistically is much like last season for Elko’s defense. His 2018 squad’s defensive S&P+ rating was 19.8, which was good for 21st in the country.

The Texas A&M linebackers are led by Buddy Johnson and Anthony Hines III. Johnson, a 6-2 228-pound junior, leads the team with 27 total tackles and 1 sack. Hines III, a 6-3 226-pound sophomore, is third on the team with 22 total tackles.

The defensive backs are led by corners Myles Jones, Roney Elam, and Charles Oliver. The Aggie corners are all exceptionally tall, with Jones at 6-4 185-pounds, Elam at 6-2 195 pounds, and Oliver at 6-2 196-pounds. Jones is a junior with 2 interceptions and 10 total tackles this season. Elam is a senior that has 2 interceptions, a sack, and 8 tackles. Oliver is also a senior, he has 12 total tackles and 4 pass deflections.

The Aggie defensive line is led by 6-5 270-pound junior Michael Clemons, 6-3 304-pound junior Justin Madubuike, and 6-4 250-pound sophomore Tyree Johnson. Clemons has 16 tackles this season at defensive end. Madubuike has 15 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 pass deflections, and an interception this season at defensive tackle. Johnson has 12 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 pass deflection at defensive end this season.

The Matchup:

The Texas A&M defense is pretty solid. They rank in the 15-30 range in almost every defensive category that you could imagine, aside from one very key one: yards per carry.

The only problem is that Alabama has a really good offense. The Alabama receivers won’t get stopped by anyone this season and Texas A&M is no exception to that. Alabama has one of the top offenses in the country and that is without even running the ball as successful as many would like. This is where that bugaboo of A&M’s run defense giving up explosive runs may come to play. Alabama will more than likely sneakily rush for over 150 yards and will throw for over 300. ESPN’s football power index gives Alabama an 83.7% chance of defeating the number 24 Aggies at Kyle Field this Saturday.