Milroe carries the burden with Young sidelined, escaping Texas A&M


CW / Lexi Hall

Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe (4) runs down the field in the Crimson Tide’s 24-20 win over the Texas A&M Aggies on Oct. 8 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Tzali Nislick, Contributing Writer

It was a mixed bag for Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe in his first career start against Texas A&M (3-3) Saturday night.  

Filling in for Bryce Young after he injured his right shoulder against Arkansas last week, Milroe filled the stat sheet in a 24-20 win over the Aggies, but he also left some to be desired.  

He finished the evening completing 63.2% of his passes for 111 yards and three touchdowns, while adding 83 rushing yards on 17 carries with his legs. The numbers were on-brand for the redshirt freshman quarterback, who entered Saturday’s showdown with more career rushing attempts than pass completions. He managed Alabama (6-0) to a hard-fought win in a highly anticipated game, but looking past the box score, there was room for improvement. 

“Jalen did some good things, but obviously a couple turnovers,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “He’s got to live and learn, and we’re going to live and learn with him.”  

Milroe turned the ball over three times, losing two fumbles and throwing a misguided interception late in the first half. Both fumbles occurred on the Crimson Tide’s side of the field and directly led to two Aggies touchdowns on the ensuing possessions. Late in the third quarter, Milroe ran backwards, losing 12 yards on a sack on third down resulting in a Will Reichard missed field goal to keep it a one-score game.  

Saban was unhappy with how his team performed, but he was hesitant to put it all on Milroe’s shoulders. 

“When you don’t have your quarterback playing and the second-team guys got to play, everyone’s got to play better,” Saban said. “Everyone on offense has to play better, everybody on defense has to play better.” 

Mistakes are not uncommon for young and inexperienced quarterbacks, but Milroe will need to clean them up for however much longer Young is out. Despite Young watching from the sideline, linebacker Will Anderson Jr. said that he played an important role in Milroe’s effort tonight.  

“With how big the game was to everybody, I think Bryce did a really good job of keeping Jalen cool,” Anderson said. “If Jalen made a mistake, Bryce came up to him to say, ‘Calm down, you’re good, we got your back and don’t worry.’”  

Tonight’s game was important for the Crimson Tide beyond the wins and losses. Trying to avenge last year’s upset loss in College Station under the lights of Bryant-Denny Stadium created an electric atmosphere.  

Milroe expressed his excitement in playing in such a high-stakes environment, saying this is what playing at Alabama is all about. 

“You come to Bama for games like this,” Milroe said. “At the end of the day, we’re trying to have fun. Football is an enjoyable sport. I enjoyed the moment, and it was definitely an enjoyable experience for me.” 

All told, Milroe executed the game plan thanks to his running ability and made just enough plays for the Crimson Tide to win. For him, that is what matters most.  

“I’m happy we got the win against a tough opponent,” Milroe said.  

Next up for Alabama is No. 6 Tennessee in Knoxville on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 2:30 p.m. CT on CBS.

Questions or comments? Email Austin Hannon (Sports Editor) at [email protected]