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 falls to No. 11 Texas in game of penalties and interceptions

CW/ Riley Thompson
Alabama wide receiver Malik Benson (#11) makes a catch in a game against Texas on Sept. 9 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

In a big-name game like Alabama vs. Texas, there’s little room for error. Unfortunately for the Crimson Tide, there were a lot of errors Saturday night, and they all led to the No. 11 Texas Longhorns defeating the No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide 34-24 on its home turf.

The loss ends a 21-game winning streak in Bryant-Denny Stadium and makes Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian the third former assistant of head coach Nick Saban to defeat him.

Saban said he’s been telling his players that this game would help decide what kind of team the Crimson Tide will become this year. 

“It was a test for everybody,” Saban said. “It was a test for coaches, it was a test for me, it was a test for all the players. We obviously didn’t do very well, but it’s the midterm, not the final.”

The first quarter started rough for both teams, with the Longhorns struggling to hold onto the ball and quarterback Jalen Milroe throwing an interception on the first Alabama possession. By the end of the first, the only points on the board were from Texas kicker Bert Auburn, giving the Longhorns a 3-0 lead going into the second quarter.

In the second quarter, quarterback Quinn Ewers helped pull his offense together, throwing a 44-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Xavier Worthy. The Alabama offense, though, still couldn’t put a touchdown drive together and could only tally field goals, in part due to penalties piling up. By the end of the night, the Crimson Tide had a total of 10 penalties. 

“It’s great to have emotion and play with emotion, everybody should have that, but that emotion has to be channeled into tangible, functional execution,” Saban said. “If you get emotional, then you make bad choices and decisions. Your brain doesn’t work like it needs to and bad things happen, whether you make mistakes on defense, whether you snap the ball poorly, whether you jump offsides.”

Milroe finally connected with wide receiver Jermaine Burton late in the third quarter for Alabama’s first touchdown and first lead of the night. Although it was technically Burton’s third touchdown of the night, the previous two were negated due to penalties. 

Headed into the final 15 minutes of the game with a touchdown fresh on Alabama’s mind, a new energy descended into Bryant-Denny Stadium with the Crimson Tide leading 16-13.

Saban said the atmosphere of the crowd meant a lot to the team.

“Our fans did a tremendous job,” Saban said. “We appreciate the support, it was fantastic.”

However, that feeling didn’t last. Within a minute, an Alabama pass interference penalty and a Texas 50-yard pass helped Ewers connect with wide receiver Adonai Mitchell in the end zone. 

With the ball back in Milroe’s hands, he immediately threw his second interception of the night, and one play later, Texas scored again, its second touchdown in 15 seconds and now ahead 27-16. 

“That was all on me,” Milroe said. “I’m going to look at film and see some things I can improve on, but that pick was on me.”

Along with the two interceptions, Milroe was also sacked five times. Between that and the accumulating penalties, it was a night full of errors.

However, it almost looked like Alabama could bounce back after a touchdown to tight end Amari Niblack. But when Texas responded with another touchdown of its own, and Alabama ended its next possession with a punt, Texas was able to run down the clock by slowly working its way down the field. A final Crimson Tide penalty shut the door on any chance of a comeback.

“There’s two things we can do: We can linger on this loss or we can try to improve and get better as a football team,” Milroe said. “I’ll bet on my guys any day of the week so we’re going to get better from this, we’ll learn from it. We’re going to grow.”

Saban said the Week 2 loss can shape the rest of the season. 

“We don’t want to waste a failing, and we certainly don’t want to waste this failing,” Saban said. “So we’re all going to be committed to trying to do things better, practice better, prepare better, have a better plan.”

Alabama football will be back in action Sept. 16 at 2:30 p.m. CT in Tampa, Florida, where it will play the South Florida Bulls. The game will broadcast on ABC.

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