After watching Alabama dismantle Ole Miss last week, Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M will have to play essentially a perfect game to rip off a win in Tuscaloosa Saturday afternoon. But if they can succeed in these four areas, the Aggies actually have a chance to give the Tide a run for their money.
4. Own Third Down
Led by defensive lineman Landis Durham and safety Donovan Wilson, the A&M defense is No. 1 in the SEC in third down conversion defense, allowing a conversion rate of just 20 percent. If the Aggies secondary can limit the deep ball, they'll be able to keep points off the board. The margin for error will be slim, but it's not out of the question.
3. Time of Possession
When the Aggies took down Bama in 2012, one key element was how long they kept the ball. Fisher's offense, led by quarterback Kellen Mond and running back Trayveon Williams, has the horses to extend drives, and while wearing out the Bama defense over time is far easier said than done, it's an imperative for the visiting team. To get it done, Mond will be relied upon to use his mobility to keep plays alive and make smart decisions on the run.
2. The Turnover Battle
With only one takeaway this season, the Aggies need to step things up and correct their -3 turnover margin. Despite their high scoring, Alabama has turned the ball over four times in three games. New Aggies defensive coordinator Mike Elko led Notre Dame's defense to 20 takeaways in 2017, and this is the best possible game for his current team to ignite that fire. And it's their most plausible shot at leveling the playing field in a game in which they're not being given much of a chance.
1. Run, Kellen, Run
Nick Saban does not hold up well against mobile quarterbacks-- witness Johnny Manziel in the 2012 edition of this game. Kellen Mond is able to scramble and get out of tight situations if need be. He has the awareness to to keep his eyes down the field while avoiding a rush, and was able to light up Clemson's top defense with 430 yards through the air and another 33 on the ground in a narrow defeat at Kyle Field. He needs to be able to concoct something similar Saturday.