Defense finds pass rush success in win over Aggies


CW / Hannah Saad

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – If head coach Nick Saban was asked how he would want his defense to start coming off the bye week, a 15-play, 75-yard touchdown drive would not be included in his answer.

However, that’s exactly how the game between Texas A&M and Alabama began in the Crimson Tide’s 47-28 victory in College Station.

“We played decent at times, but at times we gave them plays that we shouldn’t have,” Saban said. “We let the quarterback scramble around a little bit too much in the game.”

Saban revealed that the defensive gameplan coming into the matchup was to limit the amount of space Texas A&M Kellen Mond had to run. Mond, who garnered 98 yards rushing last year in Tuscaloosa, finished the game with 90 of the team’s 125 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.

“I think we got a little bit tired and got out of our rush lanes a little bit,” Saban said. “[Mond] is a good athlete, he took off running a couple of times for a couple of big plays which we have to do a better job of that.”

Despite not being able to keep the elusive Mond in the pocket, the Alabama pass rush reaped the rewards with a season-high five sacks.

Another commonality with the amount of sacks was the amount of times redshirt junior outside linebacker Terrell Lewis was in the backfield. Lewis finished the day with three total tackles including two sacks, the first time in his career where the outside linebacker had multiple sacks in a game.

Saban said it was the first time this season Lewis was able to practice a whole week and play in the game, allowing for the Washington, D.C, native to play with more confidence.

“It was a mixture of a lot of things,” Lewis said. “Just as far as me getting used to playing as much and playing as many snaps as I did today and getting a feel for the game.”

Lewis spent a majority of the time on the field with senior outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings causing a matchup issue for the Texas A&M offensive line, as it could not focus on one pass rusher which opened up lanes for Lewis and others along the defensive line.

With all of the success Lewis had in reaching the quarterback, the opposing players were bound to get to know each other. After the game Lewis was asked about the conversations between himself and Mond.

“Ask Kellen,” Lewis said with a smile.

With the consistent pressure, the Aggies were held to just 10 points by halftime, the third-lowest for the team this season. The few points were correlated with the ability of the secondary to adjust to the looks given by the Texas A&M offense.

“I felt like we did a good job,” senior defensive back Shyheim Carter said. “This is like every game: Teams try to get us confused on what we have to do and we just have to a better job of adjusting. We did that tonight.”