The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Texas Longhorns in an away matchup in Austin, Texas.
Are we surprised? No.
What may surprise some, is how the Alabama got that victory, after looking at the box score.
The Tide Gets Messy, Barely Escapes Austin
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The odds were quite literally stacked in Alabama's favor as the Crimson Tide were 21-point favorites for the showdown. Expectations ran high all throughout Texas' capital as even ESPN's College GameDay decided to make the trip and be on site.
While Texas has an up-and-coming team, Alabama has dominated the nation for decades and there was little to no doubt that the team would continue that streak. Regardless of the fact that this was Texas' first SEC opponent since it was announced they'd be joining the conference, there wasn't really much hope that they would be the winners at the end of the day (unless you're a Longhorn fan, that is).
Even though Alabama came up on top (shocker.), the game was a whirlwind from start to finish and one that nobody expected on either side.
Horns Down, But Not Out
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Despite losing quarterback Quinn Ewers early on in the game, Texas continued to exchange blows with Alabama throughout the entirety of the game. At the time of his injury, due to a tackle from Alabama's Dallas Turner, the Southlake, Texas native made 9 out of 12 passes and threw for 132 yards. He was on track to having a great game and many believe that if he didn't exit so early, the scoreboard might tell a different story.
Second-stringer Hudson Card had a decent showing even with a right ankle injury for most of the game. He finished off completing 14 of 22 passes and tallied up 158 yards. The Crimson Tide were ruthless and sacked the backup several times, but he was persistent in leading his team until the very end.
Now looking at the other team, Alabama played one of its sloppiest games in a while. The team piled up 15 penalties throughout the game, the most since 2007 when head coach Nick Saban took over the program. Texas' defense limited Heisman-winner quarterback Bryce Young as much as they could. He completed 27 of 39 passes for 213 yards and a single touchdown.
It wasn't the prettiest game of football, but the fourth quarter made the difference for the Crimson Tide as they fought to not lose to an unranked Texas team.
A Rough Time Down in Austin
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Neither team was able to make it into the end zone the first couple of times through and settled for field goals. It wasn't until late into the first quarter that Alabama finally struck the endzone after running back Jase McClellan weaved through the defense for an 81-yard run to the house.
Texas was on its way to answering back when Ewers was brought to the ground and brought to the sideline. The Longhorns still managed to respond after stud running back Bijan Robinson ran into the endzone for six. The game remained tied for quite some time after that.
Following the halftime break, Texas put a few more points on the board after two field goals. As Alabama usually does, they fired back during the fourth quarter to stomp out the fire under the Longhorns.
Before we get into the stunning two drives that brought the Crimson Tide back into the game, it would be foolish to not acknowledge one of the most stunning parts of the game. No, it wasn't a one-handed catch or a crazy turnover. It was one of the craziest officiating calls many have seen in years.
It seemed that Texas has done the impossible and grabbed itself a safety after tackling Young in the endzone. However, the officials had other ideas and claimed that it was targeting despite the fact that Young had not been hit in the head. After several minutes of confusion, the referees reversed the targeting call, said there was no safety and gave Alabama a fourth down. This angered many fans and even just college football fanatics around the country. However, the show must go on and so it did.
The Holy Grail of Fourth Quarters
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With Texas holding a 16-10 lead in the fourth quarter, it was up to Young and the squad to "saw em' off" and go back home with another win.
Young got the job done quickly on a drive that included a 4th-and-3 conversion and a touchdown after a gorgeous cross-body throw to Jahmyr Gibbs to retake the lead 17-16. The drive totaled 11 plays for 75 yards when just prior, the Crimson Tide had only 20 yards on 25 plays.
The following drive from Alabama to possibly extend the lead resulted in a turnover on downs after the team was short of the line to gain. Texas got the ball back, but Alabama was in no mood to lose the lead and a big-time sack from edge rusher Will Anderson stopped the Longhorns from potentially reaching the endzone. Texas regained the lead after a field goal from Bert Auburn (what a coincidence) and Alabama was left, once again, fighting to get back on the board.
The Crimson Tide had the ball once again and after a slick run down the sideline for a 20-yard gain from none other than Young, the team was in field goal position and Alabama won after Will Reichard's field goal, 20-19.
What Does This Mean for the Tide Moving Forward?
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Once again, no one is surprised that Alabama won. However, this game showed that gods can bleed too. The messiness during this game hasn't been seen from Saban and the Crimson Tide in ages.
To allow an unranked team to hold one to a mere 20 points after dropping 55 on Utah State last weekend was shocking. If I were Saban, I'd take a good hard look at the offense. Young is one of the brightest upcoming players as his time for the NFL Draft gets closer and his performance prior to the fourth quarter was average and the spark in the Heisman-winner simply wasn't there. While this could be a one-off this season, it could set a precedent and message for all the opponents on the team's schedule that if they can get in a defensive rhythm early, the Crimson Tide just might not roll over them as many expect.
Alabama dropped one spot in the AP Poll, as Georgia overtook their No. 1 spot, following their victory over Samford. Is that ideal for the Tide? No. But it could have been a lot worse had they not slipped from the jaws of defeat in Austin.
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