COLLEGE STATION —
The hype entering Saturday's game between top-ranked Alabama and No. 15 Texas A&M revolves around the Crimson Tide's dominate defense and the Aggies' prolific offense.
But that only tells part of the story. It overshadows Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron and Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore. McCarron is a Heisman Trophy candidate who hasn't thrown an interception. Moore is second in the nation in tackles for losses and tied for second in sacks.
Alabama's offense and Texas A&M's defense might both be a bit underrated, but both teams know these units can't be overlooked.
"All the way across the board, there are no weaknesses in this offense," Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said. "Each week when you go into a game, you see a weakness here or there that you may be able to attack. They're good across the board ... they're a complete offense."
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, long known for his high-powered offenses, has been impressed by McCarron' development. The junior has thrown for 1,849 yards and 19 touchdowns this season, the bigger the screen pass he threw to T.J. Yeldon for the touchdown that gave Alabama a 21-17 victory over LSU last weekend.
"For every quarterback there's that moment where you grow up," Sumlin said. "For AJ McCarron, the way he performed coming down the field to win was one of those moments. As an offense they continue to grow. They've got weapons all over the field."
But it wasn't only McCarron who got a boost from that big drive.
"That was just more motivation for us as an offensive unit," Alabama right tackle D.J. Fluker said. "Now we see that we can play at a high level at any point in the time in the game. That was the main thing. And I believe that win brought us a whole lot closer together."