Alabama-TAMU: 6 matchups to watch

October 21, 2016

A look at six individual matchups that will decide Alabama's crucial home game against Texas A&M Saturday (2:30 p.m. CT, CBS).

 

Alabama LT Cam Robinson vs. Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett

Garrett is simply too good of a pass rusher to be shut down. He will win his share of battles against Robinson, who is more effective as a run blocker than a pass blocker. They key for Alabama is to run the ball well enough on early downs to minimize the third-and-longs that Garrett thrives on. Robinson, in other words, can help keep himself out of third-down danger with Garrett by blowing him off the ball on first down.

 

Alabama RT Jonah Williams vs. Texas A&M DE Daehson Hall

All the attention will be on Robinson v. Garrett, but Williams v. Hall on the opposite side is a stout test for the Crimson Tide freshman who has impressively stabilized the right edge for the Crimson Tide this season. Hall can get to the quarterback, too, and Williams will face his toughest challenge of the season.

 

Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey vs. Texas A&M WR Josh Reynolds

Reynolds is the big, rangy target that the Aggies like to send on vertical routes, much the way they did with Mike Evans a few years ago. Humphrey will need to use his size, instincts and ball judgement to defend the 6-foot-3 Reynolds on deep balls.

 

Alabama LB Reuben Foster vs. Texas A&M QB Trevor Knight

No, Knight won't be throwing many passes in Foster's direction. The TAMU pass offense distributes the ball more to the perimeter and with deep balls than shorter throws over the middle. But Foster will have a big role in containing the athletic Knight on quarterback runs, particularly the draw plays that Knight used to burn Arkansas' defense earlier this year.

 

Alabama TE O.J. Howard vs. Texas A&M S Justin Evans

Two players who will be in the NFL a year from now figure to have plenty of encounters Saturday, both in the running game and passing game. Howard hasn't been targeted much this year as a receiver (sound familiar?) but his ability to deliver second-level blocks to spring big plays has been a big plus for the Crimson Tide this year, and Evans is an aggressive, instinctive run stopper who has a reputation as a big hitter.

 

Alabama pass rushers Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson vs. Texas A&M LT Avery Gennesy

Gennesy is the latest in a long line of talented Aggies left tackles, and he'll get every chance to impress NFL scouts against a variety of challenges against Alabama. You won't see the same Alabama defender lined up over Gennesy every down. He'll surely get snaps against all three of Alabama's top pass rushers. However, look for Anderson to get a lot of them.

 

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