Jonathan Allen felt a calm ease flood over him prior to arguably the biggest game of the 2016 season. Alabama will win and they will win big, pulling away in the second half.
Allen said it was "annoying" to hear again and again during the last week about what Knight did to Alabama's defense more than two years ago, throwing for more than 300 yards and completing 72 percent of his passes.
Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) moved the ball steadily in the first quarter but settled for two short Griffith field goals to go up 6-0. On the defense, Texas A&M football allows 278.2 yards in passing and 159.3 yards in rushing against their opponents.
Meanwhile, Texas A&M still has a lot to play for. His third-quarter fumble recovery for a touchdown helped the top-ranked Crimson Tide rally for a 33-14 victory to stake its claim atop the SEC West standings. The past two seasons, Jackson has returned three interceptions for touchdowns. Alabama scored on the ensuing drive and outscored A&M 20-0 the rest of the way. The Aggies have only one road game left against an abysmal Mississippi State squad that has already lost to South Alabama and BYU this season. They put up 34 points and nearly 400 yards in the famed "Kick Six" game, and over 600 a year later, in an eventual 55-44 loss in 2014. But as has been the case in recent years, the Crimson Tide ultimately found a way to win.
SMU 38, NO. 11 HOUSTON 16: Ben Hicks threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score and SMU stunned No. 11 Houston 38-16 on Saturday.
Alabama's third drive produced a touchdown.
The Aggies drove down the field with Knight capping the march with a 9-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Josh Reynolds to make it 13-7 right before the half.
For a remarkable 12th time in eight games, No. 1 Alabama had a "NOT", a non-offensive touchdown.
The second one came later in the third quarter with the Aggies on offense.
None of those losses, though, had a final deficit margin of three possessions.
Alabama out-gained A&M 129-25 in the first quarter, 174-125 in the second.
But Fournette's 78-yarder, which gave him 249 yards on his first seven carries, put the Tigers up for good.
Sure enough, A&M grabbed the lead with its first drive of the second half. Most of the time, when defensive linemen score a touchdown, they are lampooned for their lack of speed.
PENN STATE 24, NO. 2 OHIO STATE 21: Grant Haley returned a blocked field goal 60 yards for a touchdown with 4:27 left in the fourth quarter and Penn State upset No. 2 Ohio State 24-21 Saturday night for the Nittany Lions' biggest win in the post-Joe Paterno era. Running back Rawleigh Williams amassed a career-high 180 yards rushing, and this weekend's matchup with Auburn was set up to be a competitive game. The Crimson Tide's 48-43 win at Ole Miss was its closest game in terms of score, but the game never was consistently tight. And while Alabama Crimson Tide offense has looked formidable in the previous games, the Aggies' defense has always been capable of getting turnovers when needed.
Winning went out the window for A&M at that point, but a more respectable loss would have gone a long way in keeping their playoff dreams within realistic reach.
BATON ROUGE - Leonard Fournette broke LSU's single-game rushing record on his first eight carries - scoring three touchdowns of 59 yards or more - and the 25th-ranked Tigers beat No. 23 MS on Saturday night. The result was a fumble by Aggies running back Keith Ford. The difference comes on defense where Texas A&M has some question marks, which seems to be an unfortunate hallmark for the Aggies.
As Auburn enters the final third of their schedule, they're the proverbial team "no one wants to play" in the SEC, the one that is red-hot and gaining confidence every week.