Last season, Kyle Allen was a freshman quarterback at Texas A&M who took over the starting job when Kenny Hill stumbled after a hot start. Fast forward to today, Hill has transferred to Texas Christian, the Aggies are 5-0 (2-0 SEC), rank No. 9 in the nation, and Allen is set to play the game of his life on Saturday.
On that day, at 3:30 p.m. ET, Allen and his teammates will host Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide in College Station. Since dropping a heartbreaking loss at home to Ole Miss in Week 3, Alabama has won its last three games and outscored its opponents 99-24, playing great defense and looking near-invincible on the offensive side.
But here’s the kicker. Those three wins came against the following schools: UL-Monroe, Georgia and Arkansas. None of those programs have an elite quarterback. Thinking about it now, the No. 10 Crimson Tide have not been able to beat a quarterback of that caliber in 2015. The one elite quarterback they did face was Chad Kelly of Ole Miss, and he torched Alabama’s defense for 341 yards and three touchdowns.
Which is why Alabama could be in trouble this weekend. All season long, Allen has looked like the best quarterback in the SEC and has not batted an eye in the face of tough competition. When Texas A&M struggled against a tough Arkansas defense that seemed hell bent on pulling off an upset, Allen showed poise in the pocket and was patient in looking for open receivers as the Aggies ultimately won in overtime.
In an arguable trap game against Mississippi State the following week, Allen didn’t let the momentum from such an emotional win affect him as Texas A&M won 30-17.
All in all, Allen has taken an incredible step forward his sophomore year and broken the mold of the dual threat quarterback Aggies fans have grown used to seeing under center during the tenure of head coach Kevin Sumlin. He has thrown for 1,274 yards with 13 touchdowns while completing 64 percent of his passes. He has thrown just two interceptions.
Allen will need to maintain that poise in the face of a dangerous Alabama front seven on Saturday, seven young men who play on a defense that ranks 13th in the nation, but 53rd against the pass. Unless Josh Reynolds and Christian Kirk can be contained, Tide fans should prepare for a potentially high scoring affair as patience in the passing attack is Allen’s bread and butter.
Throw in a miracle occurrence when Tra Carson beats Alabama’s run defense, and the Aggies could easily be neck-and-neck with LSU for the top team in the SEC.
But that becoming a reality all rests on Allen’s shoulders. Having a strong quarterback is important to any football team, and Allen is exactly that. By continuing his strong season against Alabama this weekend, ultimately leading Texas A&M to victory, it will be hard to not take the Aggies seriously from that point forward.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports