Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium was filled to the absolute brim last Saturday as the Alabama Crimson Tide made the trip down to Austin, Texas to face off against the Texas Longhorns. This was the first matchup between the blue blood programs since 2010, when Bama and Texas faced off against each other in the BCS National Championship, which resulted in a 37-21 win for the Crimson Tide.
With the 11 a.m. kickoff, the day started early for fans attending the game. The line for the Texas student section opened up at 4:30 a.m. as many students pulled all-nighters and even camped outside of the stadium to get a chance of seats, as they were given out on a first come first serve basis.
The game also had a huge amount of media coverage with ESPN’s College Gameday hosted by Rece Davis, Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, David Pollack, and Pat
Mcafee, along with special guest actor Glen Powell. Also covering the game was Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff hosted by Rob Stone, Brady Quinn, Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, and Urban Meyer. Both TV shows had live audiences cheering on their team before kickoff.
Once the stadium opened to the public, fans rushed to get in and get to their seats. The sold-out game was record-breaking with 105,213 fans in attendance according to the Texas box office . celebrities were also in attendance for the blue blood matchup such as Texas alumni Kevin Durant, Myles Turner, Vince Young, Scottie Shaffer, and former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens.
The game itself was nothing less than a thriller to the end. The teams fought to the end with Bama taking the slim victory 20-19 over the Longhorns. Many people had Texas being blown out by the Crimson Tide as they came into the game as a 20 point underdog per Caesarssportsbooks.com, but the Texas defense had other plans, holding the talented Bama offense to only two touchdowns. Bama struggled with penalties on offense and defense that resulted in Texas gaining extra opportunities throughout the game. One issue that plagued the game was the officiating on the field. Fans had mixed opinions on a critical play in which Bryce Young was sacked in the endzone and it was called roughing the passer rather than a safety. Those two points could have allowed Texas to win the game.
Quinn Ewers lived up to the hype –
Going into the season, one of the biggest question marks about this Texas team was “‘who would be the starting quarterback?’. Ohio State transfer Quinn Ewers went on to win the starting job over Junior quarterback Hudson Card. Ewers’ play on the field showed why he won that job and why he was rated as the number one recruit in the country coming out of high school. Ewers went for 134 yards with a 75% completion percentage and seemingly took control of the Texas offense. Unfortunately, his time on the field was very limited after taking a hit in the first quarter, Ewers is expected to miss 4-6 games with a sprained SC joint but showed flashes of being great.
Bryce Young is a generational talent-
Even with the struggle on both sides of the ball for Alabama, Quarterback Bryce Young showed out to save his team when it mattered the most. Young went for 213 yards with a 69.2% completion rating and a touchdown, but what mattered the most in this game was his legs. Bryce kept many drives alive by running for first downs and turning broken plays into positive yards. Young set up his special teams unit to seal the game in the 4th quarter with a run to get into field goal range. In my eyes Texas did not lose this nail-biter to Alabama, they lost to Bryce Young.
Maybe Texas can hold its own in the SEC-
This performance by the Longhorns shocked many fans in the college football world and maybe even changed their mind about the team’s future with competing in the SEC , with the University of Texas leaving the Big 12 Athletic conference to join the Southeastern Conference (SEC) along with the University of Oklahoma by 2025. Many looked at Texas as a below average team in the SEC due to their mediocre play the last 10 years, but the energy and fight that Texas played with against SEC Powerhouse Alabama shows that they might be another great addition to a stacked conference.
Texas will have to bring back that same intensity next weekend as the UTSA Roadrunners will make the trip up I-35 for the first time in program history. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. and the Longhorns come into the game as a 13.5 point favorite.