3 Interception Returns for TDs, Henry's 236 Rushing Yards
Lead Tide Past Texas A&M
October 17, 2015
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The 10th-ranked University of
Alabama football team used a punishing rushing offense
and big plays from its defense to defeat No. 9- Texas
A&M, 41-23, on Saturday before a crowd of 105,733 at
Kyle Field. Alabama (6-1 overall; 3-1 in the Southeastern
Conference) intercepted four passes, returning three
for touchdowns, to knock off the previously unbeaten
Aggies (5-1 overall; 2-1 in the SEC).
Eddie Jackson returns an interception for a 93 yard
Photo Credit - rolltide.com
Crimson Tide running back Derrick Henry rushed for 236
yards and two touchdowns while cornerback Minkah
Fitzpatrick and strong safety Eddie Jackson nabbed two
interceptions each. Jackson returned one for a 93-yard
touchdown as the Tide defense scored three times - a
first in Alabama history. Fitzpatrick scored two
touchdowns via interception returns, first on a 33-yard
return in the first quarter and later on a game-clinching
55-yarder. Alabama quarterback Jake Coker passed for
138 yards while completing 19-of-25 passes.
Alabama built a 28-6 lead midway through the second
quarter with Henry rushing 15 times for 178 yards and
three scores in the first half and the Tide defense
holding the explosive A&M offense to 189 total yards.
After Fitzpatrick's interception return, Henry rumbled
55 yards to pay dirt with 5:26 left in the opening
stanza before tacking on a 6-yard scoring run with
14:51 left in the half. Jackson's 93-yard scoring
play extended the lead to 28-6 before A&M struck back
on a 68-yard punt return touchdown by Christian Kirk
with 3:03 left in the first half. Alabama led, 28-13,
A&M narrowed the Alabama lead to 28-20 early in the
third period on a 3-yard pass from quarterback Kyle
Allen to wide receiver Ricky Seals-Jones. The Tide
extended its lead to 34-20 on a pair of Adam Griffith
field goals before A&M's Taylor Bertolet hit a 36-yard
field goal with 7:57 left in the fourth quarter,
Bertolet's third counter of the game. Fitzpatrick
stopped an Aggie drive with his second interception
of the day, which he returned 55 yards for his second
score of the game. It set a Crimson Tide single-game
record for interceptions return for a touchdown, both
for the team and an individual.
Alabama continues its season next Saturday, Oct. 24, at
Bryant-Denny Stadium against the University of Tennessee
(3-3 overall; 1-2 in the SEC). The game will be
televised by CBS starting at 2:30 p.m. CT.
Texas A&M won the toss and elected to receive the opening
The Aggies picked up a first down on the initial play
from scrimmage on an 18-yard completion from quarterback
Kyle Allen to wide receiver Christian Kirk. The Alabama
defense produced a stop on the next series, as junior
defensive lineman Jonathan Allen sacked Kyle Allen on
third down, forcing a fumble which was recovered by
After the punt was fair caught at the 6, the Tide offense
took over and immediately established the running game.
Running back Derrick Henry carried the ball twice to
convert one first down, then broke off a 19-yard rush
following a first down picked up through the air on a
completion from Jake Coker to senior wide receiver
Richard Mullaney. Alabama drove inside the A&M 35, but
the drive stalled there. Junior kicker Adam Griffith
came on to attempt a 49-yard field goal, but a delay
of game penalty brought out the punting unit, instead.
Texas A&M began its next drive at the 20. Following a
Tra Carson rush of three yards, Allen dropped back to
pass but sailed the throw over his intended receiver's
head. Freshman defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick was
there for the interception, which he returned down the
sideline 33 yards for a touchdown. Griffith added the
extra point and the Tide led 7-0 midway through the
After another punt by the Aggies, Alabama started its
next offensive possession from the Tide 21. Henry ripped
off a gain of 15 yards on the ground on the first play,
then Coker hit Mullaney over the middle for nine more
yards. On second-and-1, Henry broke through the hole at
the line of scrimmage and past the defense, taking the
ball 55 yards into the end zone. The score extended the
lead to 14-0 with 5:26 remaining in the quarter.
The teams then traded three-and-outs, giving the ball
back to Texas A&M. The Aggies offense used a balanced
attack to move down the field, getting into field goal
position for kicker Taylor Bertolet. His attempt from
54 yards out was knocked through the uprights, trimming
the Tide's lead to 14-3 with just over a minute to play
in the first quarter.
Alabama's offense was on the move again as the quarter
ended. Coker found junior tight end O.J. Howard open on
a play action roll out for 24 yards, then Henry carried
the ball on the next two plays, gaining a total of 38
yards to move inside the Texas A&M 10.
Score: Alabama 14, Texas A&M 3
Henry capped the drive off on the first play of the
quarter, muscling his way into the end zone from six
yards out for his second touchdown of the day. The
scoring drive, which made the score 21-3 in favor of
the Tide, covered 68 yards in five plays while taking
1:23 off the clock.
Taking over at their own 25 following a touchback on the
kickoff, the Aggies put together another solid drive but,
once again, were only able to get three points from it.
Allen moved the offense down the field with his arm,
hitting Kirk for 22 yards and wide receiver Josh Reynolds
for 23 yards to reached the Alabama 32. That eventually
resulted in Bertolet's 52-yard field goal attempt, which
was good to cut the lead to 21-6.
Coker picked up a couple of first downs with his arm,
finding freshman wide receiver Calvin Ridley for 13 yards
and Mullaney for 11, but the drive stalled just shy of
midfield and sophomore punter J.K. Scott was brought on
to punt the ball away.
Alabama put more points on the field thanks to its
defense on A&M's next drive. Allen had the Aggies in
position to get into the end zone for the first time,
but another interception ended the drive. This one was
hauled in by junior strong safety Eddie Jackson at the
7, who made an electric return for the second defensive
touchdown by the Tide in the half, moving the margin to
28-6 with 6:28 to play in the half. It marked only the
second time in Tide history to have two interception
returns for touchdowns in the same game (the other time
was at Arkansas in 2008 when Justin Woodall and Javier
Arenas did it).
Texas A&M went three-and-out on the ensuing drive, but
its defense was able to force Alabama to punt the ball
away quickly. That set the stage for Kirk, who fielded
Scott's 51-yard punt at the Aggie 32 and took it back
68 yards for a touchdown. The Tide's lead stood at 28-13
with 3:03 left in the first half.
Alabama's offense went three-and-out, leaving just
enough time for the Aggies to have one more possession.
Freshman backup quarterback Kyler Murray came in for
A&M and was able to lead the offense across midfield.
On the final play of the half, Bertolet was brought on
to attempt a 55-yard field goal, his third attempt from
over 50 yards, but this one was no good, preserving the
28-13 lead for the Tide.
Score: Alabama 28, Texas A&M 13.
The Tide offense went three-and-out to begin the second
half, but A&M could not take advantage, going three-and-out
as well with Murray still in the game at quarterback.
Drew Kaser launched a 49-yard punt, which was reeled
in by senior Cyrus Jones. Jones returned the punt 23
yards, but fumbled as he was hit, and the ball was
recovered by the Aggies at the Tide 47.
Allen and the Aggie offense wasted no time in taking
advantage of the turnover. After a failed halfback pass
on first down, Allen threw a strike to Ricky Seals-Jones
for 44 yards to the Tide 3, and then hit Seals-Jones in
the end zone on a quick slant pattern on the next play
to bring A&M to within eight, 28-20, less than five
minutes into the half.
Alabama's next offensive possession failed to produce a
first down, as Coker and sophomore wide receiver ArDarius
Stewart could not connect on third-and-3. Then, on fourth
down, Scott's punt was blocked by defensive lineman Myles
Garrett and recovered by the Aggies at the Tide 29.
With the Tide defense needing to make a play, senior
linebacker Reggie Ragland came through, sacking Allen for
a loss of five yards on third-and-10 as the quarterback
attempted to escape the pocket. That set up Bertolet for
another attempt from over 50 yards, this one from 52,
but this one was short, and A&M had failed to capitalize
on the short field.
Taking over at its own 34, Alabama strung together an
impressive drive to add to its lead. Coker and Henry
combined to lead the offense down the field, reaching
the red zone. The Tide would get as far as the Aggie 12,
but could not punch it in for a touchdown. Griffith came
on to convert a 32-yard field goal, making the score 31-20
at the 3:04 mark.
The teams traded punts following the field goal. The
Aggies had the ball at their own 20 and, on the final
play of the quarter, Murray sprinted out and threw deep,
but the pass was intercepted by Jackson again. Jackson
returned it 26 yards to the Texas A&M 28 on the final
play of the third quarter.
Score: Alabama 31, Texas A&M 20.
Coker used his feet to keep plays alive in the final
quarter, scrambling for 16 yards on third-and-6 and
eight yards on second-and-goal from the 10, but the
offense could not pick up the final two yards for a
touchdown. Griffith made the 20-yard field goal on fourth
down, extending the Tide's lead to 34-20 early in the
The Aggies responded with a drive of their own, also
resulting in a field goal. Starting from the 30, Allen
used his arm and mobility to take his team into the red
zone, including a rush of 18 yards and a completion to
Seals-Jones for 26 yards. But Texas A&M was forced to
bring Bertolet out for another field goal, his third
make of the game, shrinking the Tide lead down to 11 at
Alabama went three-and-out on the ensuing drive, giving
the ball back to the Aggies quickly. Allen completed a
19-yard pass to Josh Reynolds on the first play, but was
picked off once again on the next play, as Fitzpatrick
collected his second interception of the day. And just
as he did with his first, Fitzpatrick returned pick number
two into the end zone, this time from 55 yards out. The
third defensive touchdown of the game for the Tide
provided the final margin of 41-23.
Final Score: Alabama 41, Texas A&M 23.