The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

November 9, 2012

No. 1 Alabama awaits Manziel, No. 15 Texas A&M

(Continued)

It's run-and-gun Manziel versus AJ McCarron, who thrust himself more prominently into the Heisman Trophy conversation by engineering a swift game-winning touchdown drive against the Tigers. McCarron still hasn't thrown an interception this season.

Texas A&M linebacker Jonathan Stewart figures it will take a much more pristine performance to beat an Alabama team with two national titles in three years and a third in its sights.

"We know that we're going to have to play up to the part," Stewart said. "We're going against the No. 1 team in the nation. As we saw when we lost to Florida and we lost to LSU, our two losses this year, we can't beat ourselves. When we're going against top 10 teams, they don't beat themselves. Unfortunately, in our two losses, we beat ourselves."

Alabama hadn't looked particularly beatable all season until last weekend in Baton Rouge — before McCarron, wide receiver Kevin Norwood and tailback T.J. Yeldon produced a rapid-fire string of big plays en route to Yeldon's 28-yard catch-and-run touchdown with 51 seconds left.

"If we finish out like we're supposed to, probably one of the greatest wins I've been a part of in my life," McCarron said. "The win only means so much if you finish out strong. If we don't finish out strong, it really doesn't factor in, really. Just another win."

Tide coach Nick Saban said that was easily his team's worst defensive performance of the season. Alabama's defense gave up 435 yards and got stuck on the field for 85 plays.

The Aggies would love to maintain that kind of staying power on the field and keep the nation's top scoring defense out there and McCarron & Co. on the sideline.

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