Alabama breaks the hearts of record Texas crowd in 20-19 victory
By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Hunter De Siver
From late August to early January, millions of college football fans leap out of their beds on Saturday mornings to watch ESPN’s “College Gameday.” The three-hour program takes place at a different university every week, depending on which school has the most exciting matchup.
“College Gameday” traveled to Austin, Texas, this weekend as the Longhorns took on the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. Some fans in the CFB community didn’t believe the matchup was worthy of the visit because Texas was heading into the game unranked.
But the home-field advantage isn’t a power that gets talked about enough. In Austin on Saturday, a record 105,213 fans were booming on every single play, but there were many more factors that made this the game of the week.
A field goal by each team followed by an 81-yard run by Alabama running back Jase McClellan made it a 10-3 score at the end of the first quarter. With 31 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers was knocked down by linebacker Dallas Turner and required assistance from the medical team. The deafening Longhorn crowd grew silent.
The CFB community took to social media to debate if the hit was dirty or not. All-time great former NFL quarterback Drew Brees even posted on his Instagram his analysis of the injury. Ewers stood on the sideline without pads and was in a sling for the remainder of the game, meaning backup quarterback Hudson Card was the next man up.
Five seconds into the second quarter, Texas standout running back Bijan Robinson scored from 1 yard out to tie the game. Texas nearly took the lead as the first half expired, but they missed the chip-shot field goal because future top-five NFL Draft pick Will Anderson Jr. got a piece of (blocked) it.
Anderson had a very rough first half, committing four total penalties. That block was just what he needed to thrive in the second half, especially the fourth quarter.
Throughout the first half, Alabama committed more penalties than imaginable. The Tide’s 15 penalties were the most in a game under Nick Saban. The legendary head coach came to Tuscaloosa in 2007.
For both teams, the second half was all about defense. Sacks, tackles for loss, pass breakups, you name it, it happened throughout the final 30 game minutes.
With just under 10 minutes to go in the third quarter, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young was being tackled in the endzone. The millions watching assumed it would be a safety, meaning Texas would take a 12-10 lead.
The refs initially launched their flag for roughing the passer AND targeting. This turned the internet into a frenzy and became the main reason why this game was the No. 1 ranked trend on Twitter.
Since Young threw the ball away while having his back on a player and not the ground, it was ruled an incompletion. A punt from within the endzone allowed Texas to capitalize on good field position with a field goal to take a true 13-10 lead.
Another field goal by the Longhorns with 12:55 remaining in the fourth quarter caused Bama fans to enter the next stage of panicking. The rest of the world was hoping for the historic upset.
Young solidified his Heisman Trophy campaign last season after defeating Auburn in a low-scoring quadruple overtime. Young threw the game-tying touchdown to give the Tide their first endzone appearance of the game with 24 seconds remaining in regulation.
Saturday had a similar feel.
In less than five minutes, Young gave Alabama the lead after connecting with running back Jahmyr Gibbs in the endzone to take a 17-16 lead.
Gibbs was the true star of Alabama’s offense this week. The Georgia Tech transfer had nine receptions (most on either team) for 74 yards (second-most on either team).
After Anderson sacked Card on third down, kicker Bert Auburn redeemed himself from his blocked chip shot at the end of the first half by nailing a 49-yard field goal to take a 19-17 lead with 1:30 remaining.
Alabama had one final chance… and Young didn’t shy away from the pressure.
After four straight completions, Alabama found themselves in field goal range, but it would be tough to make it. Young ran 20 yards to the Texas 17-yard line, plenty of legroom.
Three plays later, they reached the 14-yard line, giving Reichard a shot at greatness.
Reichard split the uprights from 33 yards out to give Alabama the go-ahead 20-19 lead with 10 seconds remaining.
Alabama and Texas fans jabbed each other all week. Even though they barely beat an unranked team, the Tide got the last laugh.
Alabama will host UL Monroe next Saturday at 3 p.m. on SEC Network.