The college football world was shaken on Saturday night as No. 11 Texas pulled off a stunning 31-28 victory over No. 3 Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Longhorns, led by former Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, snapped Alabama’s 67-game home winning streak and handed Nick Saban his first loss to one of his former assistants.
Texas rallies from a 14-point deficit
The game started off well for Alabama, as they scored two touchdowns in the first quarter to take a 14-0 lead. Jalen Milroe, making his second start at quarterback for the injured Bryce Young, threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to John Metchie III and ran for a 12-yard score.
However, Texas did not give up and fought back in the second quarter. Quinn Ewers, who missed last year’s game against Alabama with a shoulder injury, threw two touchdown passes to Jordan Whittington and Xavier Worthy to tie the game at 14-14. Ewers finished the game with 287 passing yards and three touchdowns, outplaying Milroe who had 189 yards and two interceptions.
Alabama takes a slim lead into halftime
Alabama regained the lead just before halftime, as Will Reichard kicked a 42-yard field goal to make it 17-14. The Crimson Tide had a chance to extend their lead in the third quarter, but Milroe threw an interception to DeMarvion Overshown, who returned it 38 yards to the Alabama 22-yard line.
Texas capitalized on the turnover, as Ewers found Worthy again for a 22-yard touchdown to give the Longhorns their first lead of the game, 21-17. Worthy had a breakout performance, catching seven passes for 142 yards and two scores.
Texas holds off Alabama’s comeback attempt
Alabama responded with a touchdown drive of their own, as Milroe connected with Jameson Williams for a 44-yard touchdown to put the Crimson Tide back on top, 24-21. However, Texas answered with another touchdown drive, as Bijan Robinson ran for a 15-yard score to make it 28-24. Robinson had a solid game, rushing for 96 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
Alabama had one last chance to win the game, as they drove to the Texas 29-yard line with less than two minutes left. However, Milroe made another costly mistake, as he threw his second interception of the game to Josh Thompson, who sealed the win for Texas.
Texas added a field goal by Cameron Dicker to make it 31-24, but Alabama still had a glimmer of hope as they recovered an onside kick with seven seconds left. However, Milroe’s Hail Mary pass fell incomplete as time expired, and Texas celebrated their historic win.
Sarkisian gets his revenge against Saban
The win was especially sweet for Sarkisian, who coached under Saban for four seasons at Alabama. He became only the third former Saban assistant to beat him, joining Jimbo Fisher and Kirby Smart. Sarkisian also improved his record to 2-0 at Texas, after leading them to a win over Rice in the season opener.
Sarkisian praised his team for their resilience and toughness after the game.
“I’m so proud of these guys. They never quit. They never doubted themselves. They played with passion and heart,” he said. “This is a huge win for our program and our fans. We came here to compete and we did that.”
Saban congratulated Sarkisian and Texas for their performance, but also expressed his disappointment with his team’s mistakes.
“They outplayed us and outcoached us. They deserved to win,” he said. “We made too many errors and turnovers that cost us the game. We have to learn from this and get better.”
Alabama dropped to 1-1 on the season, while Texas improved to 2-0. Both teams will face tough opponents next week, as Alabama will travel to South Florida and Texas will host Wyoming.