By firstname.lastname@example.org (Kelly Ward)
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Welcome to the big leagues, Minkah Fitzpatrick.
No. 10 Alabama’s 41-23 win over No. 9 Texas A&M was as good a coming out party as any. The freshman defensive back put on a show with 105,733 in attendance as he found the end zone twice on interception returns, twice as often as the Aggie offense.
Fitzpatrick opened up the scoring with a 33-yard pick-six in the first quarter. He bookended the game with a 55-yard pick-six. In between, junior safety Eddie Jackson had 119 yards on two interceptions, including a pick-six of his own.
Jackson had the third-longest interception return in Alabama history with a 93-yard return to the end zone. He returned another interception 26 yards. He has 230 yards in interception returns from five picks in seven games.
Three pick-sixes in one game is a school record.
“The four interceptions were huge in the game,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “Three scores on defense is unprecedented and probably some kind of record. Minkah having two is fantastic for a freshman.”
It was hard enough for Texas A&M to stop Alabama’s defense, let alone its offense.
Junior running back Derrick Henry pounded his way to 236 yards on 32 carries. He went untouched into the end zone on a 55-yard run up the middle.
“Honestly, he was getting to the second level and honestly, I don’t think they wanted to tackle him,” sophomore left tackle Cam Robinson said. “You see him coming downhill at you, those DBs, I don’t think they wanted to tackle him.”
Texas A&M finished with 284 net yards passing. Both Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray combined for 22-for-44 with four interceptions. Allen threw three picks, including two of the three pick-sixes. Allen also threw a three-yard touchdown to Ricky Seals-Jones to pull within one score in the third quarter.
“Every mistake we made they capitalized on it; that was on us,” Seals-Jones said. “We just weren’t clicking when we were supposed to and they capitalized.”
The Aggies had 316 yards of total offense. Alabama netted 396 yards. Henry totaled 236 yards on the ground and 254 all-purpose yards.
Jake Coker went 19-of-25 on passes for 138 yards. He was sacked once.
“You have to hand it to this team,” Saban said. “This is the second team ranked in the top 10 that we’ve beaten on the road in some really tough places to play. I think you have to respect the competitive character of this team. My hat’s off to them.”
Alabama (6-1, 3-1 SEC) hosts Tennessee (3-3, 1-2) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on CBS.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports