Alabama defensive back Terrion Arnold (3) celebrates his interception during...

Alabama defensive back Terrion Arnold (3) celebrates his interception during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Texas A&M, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt) Credit: AP/Vasha Hunt

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Jalen Milroe threw for three touchdowns in his first start and No. 1 Alabama made a final goal-line stand to escape with a 24-20 victory over Texas A&M on Saturday night in a battle of backup quarterbacks.

Playing without injured Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, the Crimson Tide (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) needed two late stops from Will Anderson Jr. and the defense. They got them, just barely, to survive four turnovers and two missed field goals.

Haynes King, subbing for injured starter Max Johnson, drove the Aggies (3-2, 1-2) 69 yards in the final 1:50 with big passes to Evan Stewart and Moose Muhammad III. Jordan Battle appeared to end the threat with an interception in the end zone, but Brian Branch was flagged for pass interference.

That set up one final shot from the 2 with three seconds left, but King's pass to Stewart fell incomplete.

Milroe passed for 111 yards and ran for 183, but also threw an interception and lost two fumbles. Jahmyr Gibbs ran for 159 yards after gaining most of his 206 after Young's shoulder injury early against Arkansas.

Subbing for an injured Max Johnson (throwing hand), King completed 25 of 46 passes for 253 yards and a pair of touchdowns with an interception.

Ultimately, Alabama got a double measure of revenge against the Aggies and coach Jimbo Fisher. Another unranked Texas A&M team handed Alabama its only regular-season loss last year, then Fisher went no-holds barred in response to Nick Saban's comments that the Aggies bought their top recruiting class with NIL money.

Once again, the Aggies hung ever so close with the top team, a 23 1/2-point favorite.

Texas A&M cut it to 24-20 on Randy Bond's 46-yard field goal with 3:32 left. The Aggies settled for the kick after twice getting flagged for false starts trying to go for it on fourth-and-long.

The defense then forced Alabama into a three-and-out, setting up one more shot for King and the Aggies.

THE TAKEAWAY

Texas A&M: It was another blow for an Aggies season that started with a No. 6 ranking and hopes of SEC and national contention. But the offense showed late signs of life in a gutty performance that fell just short.

Alabama: The dynamic passing game with Young wasn't evident, but the grind-it-out run game was effective but for the array of mistakes.

UP NEXT

Texas A&M has an open date before visiting South Carolina on Oct. 22.

Alabama visits No. 8 Tennessee in its first game against a Top 10 team.

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