By JOHN ZENOR, AP Sports Writer
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Mac Jones passed for a career-high 435 yards and four touchdowns, including a pair of deep throws to John Metchie III and an even longer one to Jaylen Waddle, and No. 2 Alabama romped past No. 13 Texas A&M 52-24 on Saturday.
Briefly threatened early, Jones and the Crimson Tide (2-0) flexed their considerable big-play muscle in the passing game to put away the Aggies (1-1). A sign of things to come: His first attempt went 78 yards to Metchie, ‘Bama’s latest major receiving threat.
Jones topped that with an 87-yard TD to Waddle, who had sprinted past two Aggies defenders to make the grab with nothing but green in between himself and the end zone. Metchie and Jones hooked up for a 63-yarder in the fourth, giving the sophomore five catches for 181 yards.
Jones finished 19-of-26 passing for a second straight surgically precise performance marred by one interception off a deflection. Waddle had 142 yards receiving and his touchdown catch was tied for the fifth longest in program history.
It came after three Alabama penalties in four plays. Jones’ three career pass touchdowns of 85-plus yards are the most by a Tide quarterback.
Najee Harris rushed for two short touchdowns and safety Daniel Wright scored on a 47-yard interception return against Kellen Mond.
Mond put up big numbers but it wasn’t nearly enough. He completed 25 of 44 passes for 318 yards with three touchdowns — and the pick six. Ainias Smith had six catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
Alabama has won the last eight meetings and 19 straight home openers, including 14-0 under coach Nick Saban.
Texas A&M: The offense couldn’t get Isaiah Spiller and the running game going after getting undone by turnovers in a 17-12 win over Vanderbilt. Smith, a converted receiver, emerged as another needed threat in the passing game.
Alabama: Any questions about production of the Tide’s passing game after Tua Tagovailoa, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III have been answered. The defense is still not dominating all four quarters.
Alabama visits Mississippi and former Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.
Texas A&M hosts another Top 5 team, No. 3 Florida.
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