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What Must Texas A&M Do to Avoid The "Hangover" of Alabama?

Texas A&M must find a way to win on the ground against Missouri's defense

Hangovers are a tough cookie to get over. They also happen well after a weekend night of being served one too many at the bar. 

The term "hangover" in the realm of college football exist following the improbable victories that occur the week before. Remember last season when LSU fell apart following the 2019 record-setting year on its way to a national championship? 

Texas A&M is going to have to just get past the hump of a 41-38 victory over No. 1 Alabama on the road this week against Missouri.  

“They’re going to be right there ready for us, waiting for us to knock us off,” A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said of the Tigers. “This is a trap game. You (can’t) listen to all the stuff all week and live in the past. That’s over with."

The Aggies (4-2, 1-2 SEC) likely know performances like the ones found last week at Kyle Field don't grow on trees. Perfect execution at the right times led to college football's biggest upset of the season. 

Quarterback Zach Calzada still has much to prove despite his three-touchdown day. The same goes for the offensive line that allowed just three pressures against one of the nation's top defenses. 

A loss to Missouri (3-3, 0-2 SEC) all but ends any chatter of a perhaps the Aggies returning back into the SEC West conversation. 

“We’ve got to play well," Fisher said. "Those things don’t mean anything if you don’t carry it on and learn from your lessons.”

Maybe Alabama's fall from the top came when the Crimson Tide overlooked A&M. The Aggies won't be doing the same thing at Faurot Field this weekend. 

Keep in mind that the Tigers are four plays away from being 5-1 instead of .500. A touchdown in the fourth quarter gave No. 11 Kentucky the victory in Week 2. An overtime drive propelled Boston College ahead in Week 4. 

For A&M, running back to its roots could be the key to winning on the road. The Tigers rank dead last in the nation in run defense, allowing an average of 288.3 rushing yards per game. Even North Texas, a non-Power Five program, rushed for 188 yards last week. 

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Fisher did not say the team would lean more on Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane in the run game. Then again, he also didn't say he wouldn't. 

Spiller scored on a 15-yard touchdown run in the second quarter against the Crimson Tide. Achane showed off his hands a passer-catcher with a 33-yard reception before setting the tone with a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter. 

"He's one of those guys that's naturally good at football," Spiller said of his fellow running back. "He just comes on the field and does whatever he feels like doing." 

Spiller hasn't rushed for over 100 yards since Week 3 against New Mexico. Achane's triple-digit days ended Week 1 against Kent State. With the numbers stating that A&M could ground and pound its way to victory, maybe both surpass the marker. 

Then again, the play-calling would have to be focused on that aspect. Over the past three games, Fisher has relied on Calzada's arm more often than not. It's come with mixed results at best. 

A&M's journey to Atlanta relies on its own outcome and Alabama's remaining schedule. The Crimson Tide still must lose one more game for the Aggies to hold the tiebreaker. On top of that, A&M must win out. 

Hangovers are common after program-defining wins. The Aggies must sure to have medication and water close at hand. 

That, and maybe trusting its 1-2 combination against Missouri's front seven for 60 minutes to lead the way. 

"I think Missouri is a great team," Spiller said. "I feel like we have to come out ready to play even though it’s an early game.”

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