Bulldogs seem set for No. 1 ranking after Alabama loses to QB from Georgia

Texas A&M quarterback Zach Calzada (10) is surrounded by fans after the team's win over Alabama in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)
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Texas A&M quarterback Zach Calzada (10) is surrounded by fans after the team's win over Alabama in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

Credit: AP

Georgia likely will be ranked as the top college football team in the nation Sunday and the Bulldogs can thank a quarterback from their own state for the boost.

Texas A&M’s Zach Calzada, who played at Lanier High School, led the Aggies to a 41-38 upset of No. 1-ranked Alabama Saturday night in College Station, Texas.

Calzada threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns, as the former backup QB played like a star.

Seth Small made a 28-yard field goal as time expired and Texas A&M ended the Crimson Tide’s winning streak at 19 games.

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No. 2 Georgia was ranked No. 2 and improved to 6-0 by beating Auburn Saturday. No. 3 Iowa beat No. 4 Penn State 23-20. The new rankings will be released Sunday.

The Bulldogs will immediately be tested next Saturday when they host Kentucky, which is also 6-0 after defeating LSU 42-21.

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Lanier quarterback Zach Calzada (left) throws a pass against Dacula in 2018. (Casey Sykes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Casey Sykes

Lanier quarterback Zach Calzada (left) throws a pass against Dacula in 2018. (Casey Sykes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Lanier quarterback Zach Calzada (left) throws a pass against Dacula in 2018. (Casey Sykes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Casey Sykes

Credit: Casey Sykes

Defending national champion Alabama (5-1) had scored 21 straight points — capped by a TD reception and 2-point conversion grab by Jameson Williams — to take a 38-31 lead with five minutes to go.

Texas A&M (4-2) tied it at 38 when Calzada connected with Ainias Smith for a 25-yard touchdown strike with three minutes left. Calzada was hit as he threw the pass and had to be helped off the field but returned for the next drive after a visit to the medical tent.

Calzada returned after the Aggies forced a punt to orchestrate the winning drive, highlighted by a 17-yard pass to Isaiah Spiller before Small finished it off to send fans streaming onto the field to celebrate.

Devon Achane returned a kickoff 96 yards for a TD in the third quarter and A&M’s defense got after Bryce Young all night.

Smith finished with 85 yards receiving and two scores and Jalen Wydermyer had 73 yards receiving and a TD to help the Aggies.

Alabama hadn’t lost since falling 48-45 to Auburn on Nov. 30, 2019.

It’s the first time Alabama coach Nick Saban has lost to one of his assistants after entering the game 24-0 in those games. He’d beaten Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher four times, the most of any of his former staffers before the former Florida State coach finally ended the streak on his 56th birthday.