The Alabama Crimson Tide escaped an embarrassing home loss to the Texas A&M Aggies this past Saturday, and it may be because a certain cornerback has a keen eye for lip-reading.
Alabama’s redshirt freshman corner Terrion Arnold told AL.com that he read the lips of Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher on the final play of the game, where the Crimson Tide were backed down on their own 2-yard line with Texas A&M having three seconds to win the game.
“He’s going ‘Evan, Evan, Evan,’” Arnold said at that moment when a touchdown for the Aggies would make it the second year in a row they upset the College Football Playoff favorite.
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The pass did, in fact, go to Evan Stewart, the five-star recruit wide receiver that had eight catches for 106 yards to that point, including a 23-yard reception against Arnold on that final drive.
This time, though, Arnold was ready for it. Using outside shade on the receiver, he read his hitch route like a book, and the throw from quarterback Haynes King wasn’t even close.
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Arnold was right there as Stewart extended his arm but to no avail. The ball sailed out of bounds and the Crimson Tide held on to remain undefeated at 6-0.
“If they throw it my way, I don’t want to be the most hated man at Alabama,” Arnold added.
The play call itself from Fisher was ripped by many, including former Aggie and Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel.
“One of the worst calls I’ve ever seen in my life,” he wrote on Twitter. “You have one play to beat the #1 team in the country and that’s what we run.
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“Every single practice you have a goal line period and practice these type of situations. That’s a joke of an ending for the Aggies.”
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban also noted that the Aggies ran a similar play earlier in the game that resulted in a touchdown. He wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice, which is why he called a timeout after seeing the formation they went with.
“When they scored a touchdown earlier, we were playing them inside out and trapping the flat thinking they would run some kind of pick,” he explained during a weekly TV show he does after each game.
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The Crimson Tide escaped with the 24-20 win on their home field, but fell in the rankings to number three overall because of the struggles. Georgia is at number one while Ohio State is now number two in the country.