Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

No. 3 Alabama football hosts No. 11 Texas for historic showdown in Bryant-Denny

CW / Emma Grace Fobas
The Crimson Tide celebrates a tackle against Middle Tennessee on Sep. 2 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala

Sarkisian vs. Saban. Quinn vs. Jalen. No. 11 Texas vs. No. 3 Alabama. Any way you look at it, this Saturday’s matchup in Bryant-Denny Stadium is the latest chapter in a contest of “Who will be the face of college football?” 

With College Gameday and SEC Nation both visiting Tuscaloosa this weekend, the nation is tuning into this historic game between two of the biggest names in college football and two contenders for the College Football Playoff.  

The players of the Alabama football team aren’t necessarily feeding into the hype, though. 

“Ultimately, it’s just another game,” defensive back Terrion Arnold said. “We’re keeping our poise. We have a great matchup, Texas is a great team, it’s going to be a great atmosphere, but that’s why you come to Alabama. Every game is the same, no one is above anybody, so we’re going to treat it just like another game.” 

Last year, though, it was far from just another game. Alabama narrowly defeated Texas 20-19 thanks to a game-winning field goal by kicker Will Reichard. The game saw an uncharacteristic number of penalties from the Crimson Tide, a factor that Arnold credits to the Longhorn atmosphere in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.  

 “The fans did a really great job of making the atmosphere very shaky. We had a lot of penalties on defense,” Arnold said. “With us preparing, we need to do a better job of making practice tougher for us. It was a very difficult atmosphere, so we need our fans to come in and make it a difficult atmosphere for them, too.” 

This year, head coach Nick Saban said he hopes Alabama fans can provide a similar, tough environment to play in. More than anything else, though, Saban is looking to see what adjustments his team can make from last Saturday’s game against Middle Tennessee as Alabama decides what kind of team it’s going to be. Although the Crimson Tide was able to limit the penalties against the Blue Raiders to just two, this game against Texas will determine if Alabama can still keep the penalties down.  

“This is a really good team all the way around, and it’s going to be an opportunity for our team to sort of [ask], ‘Where are we as a team? Where are you as a player?’” Saban said. “This is going to be a good barometer for us to find out, ‘Where are we as a team?’ We’re going to focus on doing a great job of trying to get our guys to prepare and play a great game and do a great job in terms of execution.” 

For Saban, there may be no one better to test his team than his former offensive coordinator, Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian. Sarkisian brings a veteran team to Tuscaloosa on Saturday, stacked with big names like Georgia transfer Adonai Mitchell, wide receiver Xavier Worthy and quarterback Quinn Ewers. Ewers threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns as well as running for a touchdown in last week’s opener against Rice, and the Texas native will go head-to-head with fellow Texas native and Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe.  

Named the SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week, Milroe was credited with five total touchdowns in last week’s game, three passing and two rushing. Milroe is still proving that he is Saban’s QB1, and again, there may be no one better to test his abilities than his Texas counterpart; the two quarterbacks were both Texas commits in 2020 before taking different paths to this Saturday’s matchup. 

There’s a lot to prove on the field this Saturday, but Milroe said the focus lies in practice the week before.  

“I think how we prepare throughout the week allows confidence on Saturdays,” Milroe said. “That’s key, trying to be the most prepared as possible.”  

The stakes are high, the history is storied, and the legends are in the making. The next chapter of the Alabama-Texas rivalry begins Saturday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m. CT and broadcasts on ESPN. 

“This is one of the reasons you come and play college football, for moments like this,” Milroe said. “We know we have a tough matchup this week, and we’re excited.”  

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