No. 1 Alabama faces No. 6 Texas A&M in a blockbuster rematch

No. 1 Alabama must contain Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel — something it couldn’t do last year.
No. 1 Alabama must contain Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel — something it couldn’t do last year.

The last blockbuster of the summer is set in Texas.

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 6 Texas A&M. Johnny Football trying to derail the Crimson Tide dynasty. Who is the hero and who is the villain depends upon your perspective. And, of course, it’s a sequel.

The Tide (1-0) and Aggies (2-0) meet Saturday at Kyle Field in the most anticipated and talked-about game of the season.


Just how big is this game, Tide coach Nick Saban?

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‘‘Obviously this is an exciting game for our team, the players in our program,’’ Saban said.

OK, so Saban isn’t much for hype, but there’s no doubt this is huge.

Last year’s victory propelled A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel to the Heisman Trophy. For the Tide, the loss was a detour on the way to a second straight national championship. Saban’s team is trying to become the first to win three straight titles.

In a couple of tuneup games leading into the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams, Manziel has looked better than ever (six TD passes and 520 yards), showing no signs that an offseason in the spotlight has had any adverse effects on his game.


Manziel, who will have a CBS camera trained on him all day, will be the primary target of the Crimson Tide defense. In last year’s contest, Manziel used his legs to toy with Alabama's defense, rushing for 92 yards while adding 253 yards through the air and two scores.

‘‘I think that he’s going to make some plays,’’ Saban said. ‘‘And I think athletically he extends a lot of plays but he extends a lot of plays to pass. It’s not like he’s just a runner that only extends the play scrambling and takes off running. You’re not going to make him a pocket passer, because if someone is not open, he’s not going to throw them the ball.’’

Or as Alabama safety HaHa Clinton-Dix described Manziel: ‘‘He’s one of a kind, if you ask me.’’

Alabama last played Aug. 31, a 35-10 victory over Virginia Tech.

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Less than week after the death of receiver Nick Pasquale, the 16th-ranked UCLA Bruins visit No. 23 Nebraska on Saturday.

‘‘We have to be able to handle our emotions,’’ Mora said. ‘‘We have to remain poised, we have to be prepared to overcome adversity. You ask about mental toughness. To me, those are things that define mental toughness, your ability to do that.’’

The Bruins will wear No. 36 patches on their uniforms in honor of Pasquale, a walk-on who was struck by a vehicle Sunday while he was walking in his hometown of San Clemente, Calif. The Cornhuskers will wear No. 36 decals on their helmets.

The key for both teams will be to contain the quarterback. Both squads boast electric athletes under center — UCLA with Brett Hundley and Nebraska with Taylor Martinez.

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Saturday’s game between Fresno State and Colorado in Boulder, Colo., was postponed on Friday because of flooding that’s devastating the state.

The teams were scheduled to play at Folsom Field. No makeup date has been announced.

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Some other Saturday matchups to keep an eye on: Tennessee at No. 2 Oregon; fourth-ranked Ohio State at California; Nevada at No. 10 Florida State; Vanderbilt at No. 13 South Carolina; and No. 20 Wisconsin at Arizona State.