COLLEGE STATION -- Texas A&M tight end Jalen Wydermyer said earlier this week that the key against Alabama was confidence. That was especially true for the Aggies' younger players.
A hot start would sure help, too.
Oh boy, did that confidence show up at the right time. It's not every day the No. 1 team in the country visits.
A&M's offense woke up and the Aggies scored the upset of the season, topping the top-ranked Crimson Tide 41-38 on Saturday evening. It wasn't easy as momentum and leads swung back and forth.
But A&M finally did it. Jimbo Fisher also made history in front more than 106,000 fans in Aggieland, becoming the first assistant coach to take down the master, Nick Saban.
Aggies quarterback Zach Calzada entered Saturday under scrutiny. Sometimes playing in adversity allows a player to dig down deep.
Calzada completed his first 10 passes. He was efficient finding his targets. There wasn't a rushed throw. He remained poised.
Targets were open and Calzada found them, including Wydermyer for a 25-yard touchdown on the team's second drive. A stable running game was critical. When receiver Ainias Smith scored on a 6-yard touchdown toss, A&M was up 10.
Isaiah Spiller also made a statement. Hard runs up the middle were punctuated by his 15-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to extend A&M's lead to 24-10.
That scoring drive was aided by Devon Achane's 33-yard reception. He would also add a 96-yard kickoff return touchdown in the third quarter. A&M's playmakers were doing just that -- making plays.
How about the offensive line? One of the biggest knocks for A&M's offensive inefficiencies was its quarterback protection. Seven different names had seen reps as Fisher searched for the right unit.
Maybe he finally found it.
The Aggies didn't allow a pressure in the first quarter. They allowed two the entire first half and never allowed a sack. Calzada had time, and he made the most of it behind the new five-man front.
READ MORE: Rolled Tide: Texas A&M Stuns Alabama 41-38
Not everything would be easy for A&M. Calzada's first incompletion was an interception right into the hands of Alabama safety DeMarcco Hellams. The Tide would settle for a 38-yard field from Will Reichard.
Calzada and the offense lost consistency in the second half. Decision-making was mixed. Receivers struggled to find lanes and avenues to get open.
When Calzada missed an open Smith on a potential long touchdown, it appeared the Aggies had squandered their chances.
Alabama would take the lead, 38-31, with five minutes left.
If there ever was a time for Calzada to silence the critics, it was then. Coming in clutch, the Georgia native connected four times with four different Aggies, culminating in a 25-yard touchdown pass to Smith to tie the game.
READ MORE: Saban Fires Warning Shot At Aggies
And when his team needed him most, Calzada delivered. The Aggies got a stop and Calzada -- who had to be helped off the field following the previous touchdown -- completed two passes to get A&M in field goal range.
Almost exactly a year ago, Seth Small gave the Aggies a huge win over No. 4 Florida with 26-yard field goal. He topped that with a 28-yard to take down the Crimson Tide.
Wydermyer's words rung true into the late evening at Kyle Field. The Aggies' confidence never wavered.
And down went Bama — just like those in maroon and white believed.
READ MORE: Spiller Injured, Returns In Fourth Quarter
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