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AJ McCarron posts gritty performance on road against Aggies

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David J. Phillip / Associated Press
Alabama QB AJ McCarron had a message on Saturday for those that think he's simply a "game manager."

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- As if a 30:3 touchdown-to-interception ratio last season wasn't enough, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron emphatically destroyed the notion that he is more of a game manager than a playmaker on Saturday in Alabama's 49-42 road win over Texas A&M.

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The fifth-year senior shredded the Aggies' defense for 334 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions, completing 20 of 29 passes. He threw it deep, short, and over the middle with equal effectiveness.

"I thought AJ played a great game," said UA coach Nick Saban.

McCarron's 26-yard completion to freshman tight end O.J. Howard in the fourth quarter may have been his best, most daring and most difficult throw of the day. With Alabama's lead whittled to 42-35, McCarron stepped up in the pocket and fired a strike over the middle of the TAMU defense to Howard on a 2nd-and-15 play for a crucial first down. That gave UA a first down on the TAMU 20, setting up a game-winning touchdown pass to Jalston Fowler five plays later.

While that was McCarron's most critical throw of the day, it wasn't his most exciting. That would be this one:

McCarron bristled when asked if his importance to the Crimson Tide is ever overlooked.

"I don't care about awards and notoriety. I don't need that, as long as our team wins, I'm great," McCarron said.

On TAMU star quarterback Johnny Manziel, McCarron said: "I just want to talk about our team."

He may not be long on words, but McCarron did everything possible to dispel the stereotype that he can't make game-winning plays on Saturday. Two weeks after looking positively pedestrian against Virginia Tech, McCarron was on target all day against the Aggies, and even better when a big passing play was needed most.

Game manager? If you hadn't already buried that label on McCarron, he did it for you in College Station.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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