Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Alabama’s passing game comes alive in win over Texas A&M

CW / Riley Thompson
Alabama wide receiver Jermaine Burton avoids defenders during a 26-20 win against the Texas A&M Aggies.

In a game where the result determined No. 11 Alabama football’s playoff destiny, the Crimson Tide’s wide receiver room stepped up in a 26-20 win over Texas A&M.  

The star of this SEC bout was Georgia transfer Jermaine Burton. Burton recorded nine catches for 197 yards and two touchdowns to lead Alabama’s receivers.  

Believe it or not, his full season stats heading into this game were mediocre at best: eight catches for 189 yards and two touchdowns as the senior struggled to adjust to a new quarterback and offensive coordinator, along with a nagging foot injury.  

To make matters worse, those numbers were actually good enough to lead the team in receiving yards and touchdowns through five games. Wide receiver Isaiah Bond led the team with 12 receptions. 

With the receiving corps performing to that standard, it’s easy to see why the Crimson Tide relied so heavily on the run game early in the season. 

But that’s all in the past now. 

Bond was right behind Burton on Saturday night, hauling in seven passes for 96 yards and a score of his own. 

Those performances rank at No. 1 and No. 2 in terms of yardage by an Alabama receiver this year. 

In fact, both players posted career highs. (Burton posted an identical stat line against Mississippi State his freshman year.) 

To that extent, so did quarterback Jalen Milroe, whose 321 yards passing not only blows his previous best out of the water, but also was right in line with former Alabama quarterback Bryce Young’s average yards per game from his 2021 Heisman season.  

All this against a Texas A&M team that entered the game allowing the third-fewest passing yards per game in the nation at 158. 

Head coach Nick Saban was particularly pleased with Burton’s performance. 

“We felt like if we could give him some time, he could make some plays downfield,” Saban said. “I think he was very impressive. Obviously, he was extremely effective in this game.” 

The highlights of Burton’s night were his two third-quarter touchdowns. First, he beat Texas A&M defensive back Tyreek Chappell to the corner of the end zone for a 14-yard game-tying score.  

“On the slant, he could’ve hit me when I first came off the break, but the safety was right there, so if I would have caught it, there was a high chance he would’ve tackled me,” Burton said, recapping the play. “So J. Mil read it and it kind of connected in a split second that I was going to keep going into the endzone, and he saw me in that second window so he put it through.” 

Then, just seven minutes later, he hauled in a 7-yard pass from Milroe and proceeded to beat three Aggie defenders for what would ultimately prove to be the game-winning touchdown. 

Both times he shushed the Texas A&M crowd, much to the chagrin of the 108,101 fans in attendance. 

But at the end of the game, he toned down, choosing to remain humble. 

“I honestly just want to take on the role of being a leader on this team,” Burton said. “Because I’ll be honest, IB [Isaiah Bond] could have a game like that, KP [Kobe Prentice] could have a game like that, [CJ Dippre] could have a game like that, anybody could have a game like that. So, whoever’s day it is, it’s the other receivers’ job to support them and keep him going.” 

Burton’s 197 yards were the most by an Alabama receiver since former Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith’s legendary 215-yard, three touchdown performance in the 2020 national championship game.  

Burton said he felt extra motivated by his performance last weekend, where he tried to play through a foot injury but ended the game without logging a single catch. 

“I hated not being able to do what I can do and perform because of my foot,” Burton said. “I got through my foot thing, I did a lot of treatment, I emphasized my treatment every day after practice, because I knew coming into this building was going to be tough.” 

The Alabama pass game is back. A whole new component to the offense has been unlocked. Burton, Bond and the rest of the receiving core are ready to bring this momentum into the Crimson Tide’s next game, Oct. 14 against Arkansas. 

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