The defending national champion Crimson Tide and Heisman hopeful quarterback AJ McCarron rallied from an early 14-0 deficit to take a large lead early in the third quarter before the Aggies stormed back, but eventually fell just short 49-42 at Kyle Field in College Station.
Alabama avenged a loss to the Aggies – that helped propel quarterback Johnny Manziel to the Heisman Trophy – last season and improved to 2-0 this season (1-0 in the Southeastern Conference). Texas A&M fell to 2-1 and 0-1.
A year ago, the Aggies defeated the Crimson Tide 29-24 in Tuscaloosa, but Alabama went on to win the national championship.
"This wasn't the Super Bowl," Manziel told ESPN.com. "Alabama lost a game last year and still went on to win the national championship. Our season isn't over."
The Aggies scored two quick touchdowns and led 14-0 midway through the first quarter. Manziel connected with Cameron Clear for a 1-yard TD and Ben Malena ran one in from a yard out.
However, that lead didn’t last very long. The Crimson Tide scored the next five touchdowns and led 35-14 three minutes into the third quarter. McCarron threw for three of them, T.J. Yeldon ran one in and Vinnie Sunseri returned an interception 73 yards to give Alabama its largest lead of the game.
Despite a three-touchdown lead, however, the game got interesting from there. Texas A&M scored three of the next four touchdowns to cut the Alabama lead to 42-35 with 8:04 left in the game. A 95-yard pass from Manziel to Mike Evans made it a 7-point game.
However, the Crimson Tide scored with 2:28 remaining to make it a 49-35 game. The Aggies did score one final time, with 15 seconds left, but failed to recover and onside kick and the Crimson Tide was able to run out the clock and secure the victory.
Both quarterbacks had outstanding games. McCarron passed for 334 yards and four touchdowns while Manziel threw for 464 yards and five touchdowns. The A&M signal caller also rushed for 98 yards.
"They're unbelievable," Sunseri told ESPN.com. "There's a reason (Manziel) won the Heisman. He's an unbelievable player, I don't care what he does off the field. He has great receivers and everything. We knew it was going to go back and forth and we just had to try to slow him down."
Evans also had a career game, catching seven passes for 279 yards and a touchdown. His 95-yard scoring reception was the second-longest in school history.
In other college action on Saturday, No. 16 UCLA defeated No. 23 Nebraska 42-21. The Cornhuskers actually took a 21-3 lead early in the second quarter, but the Bruins outscored them 38-21 the rest of the game, including 31-0 in the second half.
The game was emotional as it came six days after UCLA receiver Nick Pasquale was killed when he was struck by a vehicle while walking in his hometown and a day before coaches and teammates travel to San Clemente, Calif., for his memorial service.
Both UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley and Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez each passed for three touchdowns.
No. 11 Michigan survived a scare from Akron, winning 28-24. The only other Top 25 team to lose this week was No. 24 TCU, which fell to Texas Tech 20-10 on Thursday.