How to Beat Alabama and Kellen Mond's Chance
Let's just get to the point real quick: It takes a lot to beat Alabama during the Nick Saban era. Teams have to play the games of their lives collectively while having some epic performances by individual players. Since 2010, Alabama has lost only 12 times, which seems like an impossible feat but for Saban nothing is impossible. Out of those 12 losses, three teams did it twice and only one team has defeated Alabama three times since 2010. This week, Texas A&M and head coach Jimbo Fisher have the daunting task of going into Tuscaloosa and try to do the near impossible.
Above is a chart of the 12 teams that have beaten Alabama since 2010. By looking at this we can figure out just how tough it is to defeat Saban's monster. South Carolina, Oklahoma and Auburn were the only teams able to defeat Alabama by double digits. Outside of LSU in 2011, every opponent that has beaten Alabama has scored over 23 in a game. As cliché as it is, defeating Alabama really does require a team effort.
In an interview with Saturday Down South, former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze, who has defeated Nick Saban twice, said, “Even to have a chance, you have to have a good quarterback. I don’t believe you can beat them without that guy. If you don’t have that guy, you might oughta just not show up.” This was Freeze telling us what it takes to even have a chance against Alabama: a quarterback who can make plays.
Above is a chart of all the quarterbacks who were able to take down the Saban empire. One common trait you can find with all these quarterbacks outside of Jarrett Stidham is they all have the ability to use their legs when they are in trouble. Mobile quarterbacks have caused Saban hell over the years because mobility can counter a great pass rush like Alabama always has.
Texas A&M has a quarterback named Kellen Mond who is as talented as most quarterbacks in the SEC and statistically is comparable to the quarterbacks who have defeated Saban in the past. Mond has shown flashes of brilliance like his game against Clemson in week two but also has shown inconsistencies you expect from a talented sophomore. He is clearly trending in the right direction with this A&M team and he will have a chance to make his name remembered forever if he can tame the beast on Saturday.
Mond was able to have his way with a Clemson defense that has tons of NFL talent. But if he can’t repeat that performance, Texas A&M may have no chance at winning this game. One thing this Alabama team has which no team under Saban has ever had is a capable quarterback. Alabama starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is special and the things he is doing on the field is jaw-dropping at times. Alabama is averaging an insane 56 points per game and Tagovailoa is the reason this offensive explosion is taking place.
Not to mention, you have to contain players like Damien Harris, Najee Harris, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, and, oh yeah, they have a backup quarterback named Jalen Hurts who has a 29-2 starting record in his career as well. Texas A&M’s defense has the impossible task of stopping this freight train of an offense that doesn’t look like will be slowing down anytime in the near future. A&M was able to hold Clemson and their explosive offense to 28 but even that Clemson offense is nowhere near as frightening as this Crimson Tide one. It’s tough to say what a team needs to do to beat this Alabama team because we literally haven’t seen an Alabama team like this ever.
So after looking at all the previous matchups, the current A&M roster and at Alabama’s talent, Jimbo Fisher has quite the task ahead of him. Not only does he need his quarterback to have the game of his life, but he also needs his offensive line to contain Alabama’s pass rush, his wide receivers to win at the catch point and needs to stop the best offense Alabama has ever had from hitting their average of 56 points a game. Stopping a team like this doesn’t seem possible but this is why they paid you the big bucks, Jimbo. Good luck in stopping this juggernaut.