Texas Had One Job: Alabama!

Ethan Burke chases down Jalen Milroe
9/9/23 Texas Longhorns Football Ethan Burke tracks down Jalen Milroe. (photo Don Bender / Horns Illustrated)

It was so obvious that everyone on the planet thought Texas could beat Alabama, except nobody could say it publicly in fear they were wrong, and for good reason. After all, Alabama losing at home is as rare as hens teeth, as they say.

Texas did to Alabama what Alabama usually does to everyone else.

Before we get into the football stats, passes, blocks, and sacks, let’s address the single biggest reason Texas won. It was for the same reason Texas lost to Alabama by only one point last season at DKR when everyone ‘knew’ Alabama was going to beat Texas by 14 points.

Texas was not intimidated by Alabama one single iota. Was this because Sarkisian knew Nick Saban so well? Maybe, but not likely. Alabama is intimidating because of their preparation, execution, and consistent results, not because they are bigger, faster, and more talented, though in areas they are.

It was because Sarkisian had seen first hand how other teams were intimidated by the sight of Saban and the grandeur of the Alabama Football program, all well they should be.

Texas went to Tuscaloosa played 12 drives and ran 75 plays that covered 454 total yards. Some of those yards were rushing (104) or 23%. Jonathan Brooks tallied half the rushing yards (57) on 14 carries that included a fourth quarter touchdown.

Quinn Ewers' passing started off sluggish in the first quarter going 4-8 for 23 yards. In the second quarter a 44 yard airdrop pass to the out-stretched arms of Worthy as he was striding into the endzone changed the narrative of the game and certainly proved that Ewers and Worthy could in fact connect downfield.

The game was close, too close for three quarters. At the half, Texas was up 13-6, which means Alabama is about to recalibrate and start swabbing the deck with Texas in the second half. It’s Alabama after all! That’s not what happened.

The final :14 seconds of the third quarter Alabama took the lead 16-13 after a 49-yard pass from Jalen Milroe, his longest of the game, to Jermaine Burton for Alabama's first touchdown of the game. 

The Fourth Quarter

Normally, the fourth quarter is when Alabama puts the final nails in the coffin and allows others to get playing time. Not this night against Texas.

Texas scored two touchdowns in the first 2:10 minutes of the quarter. The first, a seven yard pass from Ewers to AD Mitchell giving Mitchell his first touchdown of the game. The second was a Jonathan Brooks five yard rush into the endzone.

Texas had an 11 point lead 27-16 with 13:50 left in the fourth quarter. Alabama will be full throttle coming for Texas.

As expected, Alabama scored on their next drive made up of six plays that spanned 75 yards into the Texas endzone on a 39-yard pass by Milroe to Amari Niblack. Alabama goes for two extra points and converts.

Texas up 27-24 with 11:08 left in the game. More than enough time to pull ahead in the final stretch. Texas answered on the next drive with seven plays that resulted in a  75-yard march across the grid that concluded with a 39-yard pass from Ewers to AD Mitchell in the endzone putting Texas up by 10 points. Mitchell’s second touchdown.

Nobody thought for a moment that Alabama was out of it, not even remotely. Plenty of time (8:23) for Alabama to make up 10 points. 

Alabama started on the their 20-yard line, ran three plays over 1:04 minutes and had to punt after Texas’ Anthony Hill Jr sacked Milroe for a loss of 8-yards pushing Alabama back to their eight yard line. They had to punt. 

Still with plenty of time on the clock (7:14), Texas started on their 30-yard line and did the unthinkable and unimaginable by not allowing Alabama to have the ball the rest of the game.

Texas held possession for the final 7:14 of the game. Texas ran 12 plays trudged over 34-yards. Alabama had one last chance to stop Texas.

Texas had third down and needed seven yards for a first. Alabama had used up their three time outs and Texas called a timeout. Sarkisian calls a run play up the middle by Jonathan Brooks. The same play he called before the timeout that resulted in zero yardage.

Texas goes to a no huddle shotgun, Ewers hands off to Brooks again and he runs up the middle four yards. Not enough for a first down. Fourth down and three for Texas.

Sarkisian goes for it. Texas lines up in formation, clock’s ticking down, and there is movement on the left. Alabama jumps offsides. The pressure was too much. Five yard penalty.

First and 10 with 2:09 left, Ewers takes a knee thrice. GAME OVER TEXAS BEATS ALABAMA 34-24

| #HookEm

Terry Middleton

I like exploring the why's and have three objectives. First is to give value to those who would spend time with our content. Second is to be respectful of others and for the opportunity to tell a positive story about all of the Texas Longhorns teams, players, and coaches regardless of their record. Lastly, to put wind in the sails of others using the Horns Illustrated platform. Life is GOOD!