Football Writers Association of America Oct. 11, 2021
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Gangi
214-909-9314
Aggies end No. 1 Alabama's 19-game win streak at the gun
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TEXAS A&M IS CHEEZ-IT BOWL NATIONAL TEAM OF THE WEEK

DALLAS (FWAA) – On a day filled with blockbuster matchups and a season's worth of highlights across the country, Seth Small saved the best for last, cooly nailing a 28-yard field as time expired to give the Texas A&M Aggies a dramatic 41-38 win over No. 1 Alabama at Kyle Field in a primetime nightcap. For being the first unranked team to beat a No. 1 team since 2008 and snapping the Crimson Tide's 19-game win streak, Texas A&M has earned the Cheez-It Bowl National Team of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Oct. 9, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.

This is the seventh time for Texas A&M (4-2) to earn this honor from the FWAA. A near identical kick – a 26-yard last-second field goal by Small in this same weekend (Oct. 10) last season – earned the Aggies the FWAA's weekly honor after they toppled No. 4 Florida at Kyle Field, ironically by the same 41-38 score. The Aggies' last honor prior to that came in 2014. All Division I FBS and FCS schools are eligible to be selected.

The win also snapped Alabama's 12-game Southeastern Conference win streak. It was the third time that Texas A&M has beaten an AP No. 1 opponent; the last time came in 2012 at Alabama. Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher became the first former Nick Saban assistant coach to defeat his boss (they were a collective 0-24 prior to Saturday, Fisher being 0-4).

Junior quarterback Zach Calzada completed his first 10 passes and led A&M to a tying touchdown and then the game-winning field goal in the fourth quarter, finishing 21-for-31 for 285 yards and three touchdowns. The Aggies got their first kickoff-return touchdown in four seasons, and the defense limited Alabama to just 10 points in the first half, its lowest first-half total since being held scoreless by Georgia to start the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. The four sacks by A&M are the most Alabama has given up in four seasons.

"All three phases affected the game: Offense, defense, special teams. We had the points," Fisher said. "There were ups and downs and swings in that game. You knew they were going to come back in the second half after our first half after the things we did. I thought our defense was outstanding. Even though they gave up yards, they had some outstanding (stops) – four straight trips right there that either they missed – got a field goal, got an interception in the red zone.”

The win came before a packed Kyle Field crowd of 106,815, the second-largest crowd in stadium history and its highest since its redevelopment in 2015. The Aggies play at Missouri at 11 a.m. CT Saturday on the SEC Network.

This is the 20th season the FWAA will select a national team of the week. Each honored team will receive a custom Cheez-It "care package" along with a hand-crafted game ball made in America by Dallas-based Big Game USA, the nation's leading manufacturer of custom footballs.

The other National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend of Oct. 9 are:

• Boise State (3-3): Hank Bachmeier threw for 172 yards and the Broncos’ defense forced four turnovers in a 26-17 upset at No. 10 BYU. Boise State rallied from a 10-0 deficit to take a 17-10 halftime lead, marking the first time BYU has trailed this season. It was the Broncos’ first win over a top-10 team on the road since 2001 (35-30 at No. 8 Fresno State).

• Iowa (6-0): The No. 3 Hawkeyes took over one of the day's most-anticipated games in the second half, outscoring No. 4 Penn State 13-3 for a 23-20 win at Kinnick Stadium. Nico Ragaini's 44-yard touchdown reception with 6:26 left decided it, completing Iowa's comeback from an early 17-3 deficit. Iowa's defense intercepted four passes and held Penn State, which lost starting quarterback Sean Clifford to injury during the game, to 287 total yards.

• Oklahoma (6-0): In front of 92,100 fans at the Cotton Bowl, the No. 6 Sooners got the wild day started when Kennedy Brooks rambled 33 yards for a touchdown with three seconds left, beating No. 23 Texas 55-48 on a play meant to set up a game-ending field goal. The score was the last of Brooks' 217 yards as Oklahoma overcame a 28-7 deficit after the first quarter, matching the second-largest comeback in program history behind quarterback Caleb Williams, who replaced Spencer Rattler in the second quarter.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

About the Cheez-It Bowl
The Cheez-It Bowl takes place on Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 5:15 p.m. ET in Orlando, Fla. The postseason contest is hosted by Florida Citrus Sports, a Central Florida-based nonprofit, and annually features top teams from the Atlantic Coast and Big 12 Conferences. Cheez-Itฎ, the best-selling cracker brand in the United States, signed on as the game's title sponsor in 2020 as part of its season-long support of college football. Last bowl season, No. 21 Oklahoma State beat No. 18 Miami 37-34 in front of an audience of Cheez-It "Wheel Live Fans." This year's Cheez-It Bowl will be the 32nd edition of the game and its 21st in Orlando.

2021 Cheez-It Bowl National Teams of the Week
• Weekend of Sept. 4: UCLA Bruins
• Weekend of Sept. 11: Arkansas Razorbacks
• Weekend of Sept. 18: Fresno State Bulldogs
• Weekend of Sept. 25: N.C. State Wolfpack
• Weekend of Oct. 2: Cincinnati Bearcats
• Weekend of Oct. 9: Texas A&M Aggies
• Weekend of Oct. 16: Purdue Boilermakers
 

Related links:
• All-time FWAA National Teams of the Week
• Download Cheez-It Bowl National Team of the Week logo: .jpg | .eps

2021 FWAA ALL-AMERICA COMMITTEE
Andrea Adelson ESPN.com ACC
Evan Barnes Memphis Commercial Appeal American Athletic Conference
Kirk Bohls Austin American-Statesman Chairman
Travis Brown Bryan-College Station Eagle SEC
Ken Capps TexasFootball.com Conference USA
Brett Ciancia Pick Six Previews National
Angelique Chengelis Detroit News Big Ten Conference
Scott Dochterman The Athletic Big Ten Conference
Bryan Fischer Athlon Sports Pac-12 Conference
John Hoover SI.com Big 12 Conference
Adam Hunsucker Monroe News-Star Sun Belt Conference
Shehan Jeyarajah CBS Sports Big 12 Conference
Nate Mink Syracuse Post-Standard ACC
Tony Siracusa Last Word on College Football Pac-12 Conference
Phil Steele Phil Steele Publications National, Independents
David Ubben The Athletic SEC
Chris Vannini The Athletic Mountain West Conference
John Wagner Toledo Blade retired Mid-American Conference