Texas vs. Alabama was the most-hyped college football game in Week 2, and boy did it live up to the hype. The Longhorns lost last year’s match up in Austin 20-19, but that was without Quinn Ewers, who left the game in the first quarter with an injury and never returned.
These two teams met again on Saturday night, this time in Tuscaloosa, in what will be a future SEC meeting, as the Longhorns are set to join the league in 2024, along with the Oklahoma Sooners.
With that being said, it was Texas beating Alabama 34-24. Here are three thoughts on the game.
Texas Wins the Turnover Battle
Texas won the turnover battle 2-0 over Alabama, with those two turnovers leading to a combined 10 points, coincidentally the difference in this game. The first interception from Jalen Milroe came in the first quarter and led to a Texas field goal to put the Longhorns up 3-0. Then in the second half, Milroe was picked off again, this time by Jerrin Thompson, and was returned to the Alabama five-yard line. UT would punch it in one play later on a Jonathan Brooks touchdown run. to put Texas up 27-16 early in the fourth quarter. At that point it felt like Texas was on its way to a victory. The Longhorns had the better quarterback, better playmakers and it showed on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa.
Quinn Ewers played an excellent game, going 24/38 for 349 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions, while Milroe was uncomfortable all evening, only completing 14/27 passes for 255 yards with two touchdowns and the two aforementioned interceptions.
It was the Longhorns who looked like the SEC team in the trenches against Alabama. UT dominated Bama on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Texas had five sacks and nine tackles for loss in this game against Alabama, while on the other side, the Crimson Tide only mustered two tackles for loss and never got to Quinn Ewers in the backfield.
Anthony Hill Jr. led the way with 1.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for loss on the night, while Ethan Burke had one sack and two tackles for loss as the Longhorns proved they’re going to be an incredibly tough out for any Big 12 team this fall.
A Program-Defining Win for Steve Sarkisian
Steve Sarkisian started Year 3 as the Texas Longhorns head coach with enormous expectations. Texas was picked to win the Big 12 in their final year in the conference, along with being a College Football Playoff pick for many. While this game would not have hurt their chances of winning the league, or even making the Playoff, winning it completely changes the discussion for this UT team. It is the best win of Sark’s tenure as the head coach, and one that will now up the expectations that the Longhorns must win the Big 12. Anything less will be a disappointment.