In a season of what-ifs, Texas A&M may have experienced the biggest Saturday night.
The unranked Aggies and maligned quarterback Zach Calzada dug deep for an effort that few outside their locker room could have predicted. Texas A&M snapped several losing streaks by taking down No. 1 Alabama 41-38 before 106,815 at Kyle Field.
Seth Small kicked the game-winning 28-yard field goal as time expired to complete a 10-point sprint to the finish line for the maroon-clad underdogs.
What if the Aggies beat Arkansas? Or Mississippi State? Or both?
What if Texas A&M had played up to its preseason ranking?
Those debates are for another day. On this night, the Aggies ended a eight-game losing streak to the Crimson Tide and a two-game skid to open SEC play. Texas A&M also beat a No. 1 team for the third time in program history – two of those against Alabama.
How the Aggies (4-2, 1-2) got back off the canvas after two weeks of questions was pretty elementary, according to their coach.
"Eliminate all the clutter. Eliminate the clutter and win your space," Fisher said. "Guys, there isn't no secret to this. Ain't no magical formula. They got to believe in what you tell them.
"They got to eliminate ... all the social media, all the media, good, bad, indifferent. Knock it out. Don't read it. I wouldn't even read it. I don't unless there's something there."
Alabama (5-1, 2-1) also had its nation’s best 19-game winning run come to an end. The Tide had also won 100 in a row against unranked teams.
And Nick Saban lost to a former assistant for the first time in 25 games, with Jimbo Fisher coming through on his offseason prediction that the Aggies would beat his one-time boss.
Calzada, in his fourth career start, authored a masterful performance after struggling in his last two outings. The former backup completed 21-of-31 passes for 285 yards and three touchdown, with a pair to Ainias Smith.
"Very proud of Zach," Fisher said. "He's a high‑character young man. It matters to him. It means something to him.
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"And he's gotten better each week he's played. Each week he's done something. And he's preparing. He's learning how to play the position of quarterback."
Texas A&M also took advantage of two turnovers, a special teams score and one of college football’s most-intimidating home fields.
The Aggies certainly looked up to the challenge on their first three drives, moving the ball with Calzada finding open receivers and slicing the Tide with quick-hitting runs.
A trio of scores was highlighted by scoring tosses from Calzada to Jaden Wydermyer and Smith that staked A&M to a 17-7 lead. At that point, Calzada was a perfect 7 for 7 for 105 yards, as the spell of something magical filled the air of packed and frenzied Kyle Field.
A lost fumble by Alabama aided the early A&M scoring spree. Aggies defensive back Demani Richardson’s interception in the end zone thwarted another Tide scoring chance.
The A&M defense displayed a level of aggressiveness not seen in recent weeks. Bama quarterback Bryce Young was under pressure he hadn’t seen often in his early career.
Calzada’s only mistake of the first half was costly. An ill-conceived throw was picked off at the A&M 40-yard line.
Despite a huge gain by Brian Robinson Jr. on the ensuing play, the Aggies held and only gave up a field goal.
The Aggies’ 17-10 lead didn’t last long. They extended it. Calzada led another scoring march — this one 75 yards — that culminated in Isaiah Spiller’s 15-yard touchdown run.
Texas A&M took that 24-10 lead into halftime. Calzada was 13 for 14 for 183 yards, two touchdowns and an interception at the break.
Alabama began its climb back with a block punt resulting in a touchdown midway through the third quarter.
Devon Achane had other ideas. The speedster took the ensuing kickoff back 96 yards, extending A&M’s lead back to two touchdowns at 31-17.
The Tide scored on the next three possessions, but two were field goals. The second left Alabama down 31-30 with 8:48 remaining.
The Aggies, unable to move the ball in the second half, went three-and-out again. Young led the go-ahead march that ended with a 7-yard scoring pass to Roydell Williams on busted A&M coverage. The two-point conversion made with 38-31 with 5:00 left.
The Aggies tied it with a desperation drive that ended with Calzada’s 25-yard TD toss to Smith with 3 minutes remaining. The Aggies got a rare stop and Calzada led the game-winning 54-yard drive.