COLLEGE STATION -- College football fans can be grateful that the Texas A&M - Alabama game was early in the season, or we would have heard about it for four months straight. Fans can also rest easy knowing, while the major sports networks only hyped it for weeks on end, the lofty expectations set for the match-up were fulfilled, and then some.
It was, as all coaches and players echoed in post-game, a game between two "really good football teams," but really good teams that veered from the classic low-scoring SEC match-ups, really good teams that allowed a ton of offensive action to be displayed Saturday at Kyle Field.
"That was two really good football teams going at it out there," Texas A&M Defensive Coordinator, Mark Snyder, said after the game. "I think Alabama's got a great defense, I think they have a really good defense, and let [628 yards] hung on them. Two really good football teams."
The Aggies continued their streak of big offensive shows, as Saturday's game marked their 15th straight with more than 400 yards of total offense. A&M totaled out at 628 of total offense, and Alabama came in just under that at 568 yards. A combined 91 points were put on the scoreboard, the majority of which were tallied by the Tide, and while Johnny Manziel and his troops put up a fierce fight late into the fourth quarter, they came up one touchdown shy of the team they so dramatically upset one year prior. A tough loss to swallow, but still a beneficial battle for the resilient Aggies.
"I was proud of the effort, we didn't always do everything right, but nobody can say this team quit," Head Coach Kevin Sumlin said regarding the educational value of Saturday's loss. "Early in the season, in a game like that, there's going to be a winner and a loser, and it's not about what happens to you right now, it's about how you deal with it from here on out."
Sumlin was quicker to point out negatives quicker than positives Saturday: the turnovers, trouble stopping the run, and some momentum-changing penalties. Manziel also admitted there were some plays he would take a redo on, but ultimately echoed Sumlin's statements regarding the future, even reflecting on Alabama's example they've set in years past, showing that dream seasons are still attainable, even after big losses like this one.
"This isn't the end of our season. This wasn't the Super Bowl, this wasn't the last game of the season," Manziel said. "Alabama lost a game last year and still went on to win a National Championship. They lost to LSU the year before and still went on to go to the National Championship. Our season isn't over, anything could happen, this is college football. All we can do is take care of ourselves, take care of what's in this locker room, and continue to get better as a team."
No doubt Manziel will only feed off this tally in the losses column, as he and the Aggies work down their busy SEC schedule, maturing from their valiant effort against the Crimson Tide, and doing all they can to make this the only loss this season.