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Aggies' Kevin Sumlin to face program-building standard in Tide's Nick Saban


"Texas A&M is the strongest team that we've played to this point, looking at them from a holistic standpoint", Saban said Monday. Alabama is now a 26.5-point favorite against Texas A&M, a team it has beaten four straight times by a combined total of 182-79. He has rushed for 376 yards for the season, averaging 8.4 yard per carry with a team-best six touchdowns.

But now Texas A&M steps back into the spotlight in a huge way with a home game Saturday against No. 1 Alabama in College Station, Texas.

Most Aggie fans would circle the Crimson Tide coming to town as the biggest game of the season. With different mindset, he said, the Aggies believe 2017 can be different.

The Crimson Tide's cornerstone left tackle will face a tough task as he aims to neutralize a Texas A&M defense that ranks second in the FBS with 20 sacks. "No matter what happens Saturday, we're playing football the next week". The most recent impressive performance came when the Tide won by 63 points against Ole Miss.

Lane Kiffin might have given up his petty shots at Nick Saban and Alabama. Last week against SC, he completed 19 of 27 attempts for 159 passing yards and added 95 rushing yards on 16 carries.

With defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand "very doubtful" to play due to what is likely an MCL sprain, Payne's already very important role along the defensive line will become even more crucial. When Saban was the coach at Michigan State, he said "we had a very, very hard time" with Tiller's teams. After beating Vanderbilt and Ole Miss by a combined 125-3, the Tide will head into College Station as four touchdown favorites against a one-loss Aggies team. Holcombe said the unit gets ready for quarterbacks such as Mond in practice against Hurts, who leads Alabama with 461 rushing yards.

"He is really risky as a quarterback, but when he puts it down and runs is when good things happen for them and bad things happen for the other team", Sumlin said.

Sumlin said, "Our emphasis on what we are doing is not going to change because of the opponent".

So far, Hurt has leaned on wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who has 24 catches for 322 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks on prior to the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game against the Clemson Tigers at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.

"Whatever happened in the hurricane happened and it's a bad thing and we want to support everybody in every way we can", Saban said. "Regardless of the score, there are still things we can learn from and improve from". They then went on to beat Colorado State and Fresno State the next two weeks before starting SEC play.