AUSTIN (KXAN) — Alabama fans started filing out of Bryant-Denny Stadium with about 3:30 left in the game, knowing their Crimson Tide just lost at home for the seventh time in the past 16 seasons.
Texas used an incredible performance by its defense and quarterback Quinn Ewers to power past No. 3 Alabama 34-24 on the road.
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Ewers threw for 349 yards with three touchdowns and the defense sacked Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe five times to end Alabama’s 21-game home winning streak and serve notice to the Southeastern Conference.
The win makes Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian the third former assistant of Alabama head coach Nick Saban to beat the Tide since Saban started coaching there in 2007. Saban’s former assistants are now 28-3 against him.
Ewers showed the national primetime audience, and perhaps many Texas fans, that he can, in fact, throw accurate deep passes. After struggling with the deep ball against Rice in Week 1 and not completing seven attempts of 20-plus air yards, he was 3-for-5 for 115 yards and two touchdowns on such passes against the Crimson Tide. He connected with Xavier Worthy for a 44-yard touchdown in the second quarter, throwing a rainbow-style ball that fell perfectly in Worthy’s hands. Ewers hit Adonai Mitchell with a 39-yard scoring pass with 8:23 left in the game to seal the deal and put Texas up by multiple scores.
Ewers finished the night 24-for-38 with 349 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Two of the scoring passes went to Mitchell and the other to Worthy. Tight end JT Sanders had a tremendous game, leading the Longhorns with 114 receiving yards on five catches. Sanders had a 50-yard catch and run near the start of the fourth quarter that helped set up an Ewers-to-Mitchell 7-yard touchdown.
“As the game went on, you could see some of the coverage going to Xavier so that opened up other guys,” Sarkisian said. “JT made some really big plays, as well as Jordan. Xavier recognized some of the double coverage, and I told him that was a good thing.”
Texas’ longest drive of the night by the number of plays was its last to ice the game. A 12-play, 34-yard drive that churned the final 7:14 off the clock was “indicative about how far we’ve come,” Sarkisian said.
“It’s a heck of a team win,” Sarkisian said. “You have to be able to run the football when they know you’re going to run it. Clearly, that’s what the last drive was, and we finished the game with the ball.”
Defensively, the Longhorns gave up a couple of big plays, but overall, they played outstanding. Texas forced two turnovers — both interceptions from Jahdae Barron and Jerrin Thompson — and sacked Milroe five times for 31 yards. Overall, the Longhorns notched nine tackles for loss for 37 yards. Anthony Hill had two sacks, his second coming in emphatic fashion in the fourth quarter on a 3rd-and-10 play, and ended with six tackles. Defensive back Jalen Catalon led the defense with seven tackles.
During the week leading up to the game, Sarkisian stressed that the only way the Longhorns had a shot to beat Alabama was if they “left the fear in Austin.” They were able to do that and not lose the game on the plane ride to Tuscaloosa.
“I had to make sure to our players that we were good enough to come in here and win,” Sarkisian said. “A lot of people get beat by the mystique of Alabama before the ball gets kicked off. The moment doubt creeps in, that’s when you start making the mistakes that get you beat. I wanted to be clear with the players that we don’t fear them.”
Texas (2-0) hosts Wyoming at 7 p.m., Sept. 16. Alabama (1-1) travels to South Florida next week.
Final: Texas 34, Alabama 24. The Longhorns went into Tuscaloosa and took out the No. 3 team in the country.
5:00 4Q: Brooks goes straight up the gut for a 14-yard gain, converts the 3rd down and Texas can bleed the clock. Alabama can’t stop it
5:09 4Q: Alabama coach Nick Saban burns his final timeout and Texas has a 3rd-and-7 play.
7:53 4Q: Anthony Hill Jr. clobbers Milroe on 3rd-and-10 for a big QB sack and 8-yard loss. The 5th sack of the night. Alabama has to punt
8:23 4Q: TOUCHDOWN TEXAS: Ewers to Mitchell for a 39-yard score. Mitchell gets in behind the Alabama secondary and Ewers hit him in the hands. PAT good. 7 plays, 75 yards, 2:45. Longhorns 34, Crimson Tide 24
10:28 4Q: Jordan Whittington with a big catch and run for a 31-yard gain to set Texas up on the Bama 49-yard line
11:08 4Q: TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA: A low snap to Milroe and he has to collect it off the ground, but he stands up and fires it to Amari Niblack for a 39-yard touchdown. Not very good open field defending by the Longhorns there. 2pt conversion is good. 6 plays, 75 yards, 2:42. Longhorns 27, Crimson Tide 24
13:50 4Q: TOUCHDOWN TEXAS: Jonathon Brooks wastes no time cashing in on the INT and scores on the first play of the drive from 5 yards out. PAT good. Longhorns 27, Crimson Tide 16
13:54 4Q: Jerrin Thompson picks off Milroe and returns it to the Bama 5-yard line. Milroe threw it right to Thompson. Wow.
14:05 4Q: TOUCHDOWN TEXAS: Adonai Mitchell finishes off the drive with a 7-yard catch for a score. PAT good. What a response by the Longhorns. 3 plays, 75 yards, 1:09. Longhorns 20, Crimson Tide 16
14:38 4Q: JT Sanders rumbles after the catch for a 50-yard gain to get the Longhorns down to the Bama 7-yard line. He was wide open.
End 3Q: Alabama 16, Texas 13. Buckle up, buttercup. This thing is going down to the wire and it’s going to be wild. Longhorns have the ball 2nd-and-7 on their own 28-yard line to start 4Q
0:14 3Q: TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA: Milroe fires it to Jermaine Burton for a 49-yard touchdown. A perfect throw by Milroe and Burton got behind Jerrin Thompson. PAT good. 5 plays, 59 yards, 2:38. PAT good. Crimson Tide 16, Longhorns 13
2:52 3Q: Alabama stuffs Texas on a 4th-and-2 play to take over on downs. Dallas Turner, the player who tackled Ewers last year that led to his injury, made a tremendous play for the Tide on the stop.
4:59 3Q: Texas forces another punt and they’ll get the ball on their own 39-yard line. Alabama is 3-for-11 on 3rd downs so far
6:27 3Q: Texas gets two big plays from Ewers through the air, but their drive stalls and Auburn hooks the 42-yard field goal attempt and the Longhorns get nothing out of the drive. Alabama takes over on their own 24-yard line
7:50 3Q: Texas catches a break as Milroe overthrows Jase McClellan who had David Gbenda beat. Crimson Tide punts and Texas takes over at their 5-yard line
9:24 3Q: Ewers’ pass on 3rd-and-11 goes through Jordan Whittington’s hands and the Longhorns go 3-and-out. A holding penalty on Alabama backs them up to take possession on their 20-yard line.
11:04 3Q: Reichard clobbers that 51-yard field goal and he’s scored all of the points for the Crimson Tide so far this evening. A holding penalty wiped out a Bama TD on the drive. 7 plays, 42 yards, 3:56. Longhorns 13, Crimson Tide 9
15:00 3Q: Alabama gets the ball to start the second half and it’s a touchback so they’ll take over at their own 25-yard line
Halftime: Texas 13, Alabama 6. Reichard knocks a 30-yard FG through as time expires in the first half. There was a wild sequence that ended with an apparent Alabama touchdown off a tipped pass and an insane scramble by Jalen Milroe, but an ineligible man downfield penalty wiped it out.
1:34 2Q: Sanborn blasts a 56-yard punt but a holding penalty on the Longhorns cuts into some of the yardage. Alabama takes over on their own 37-yard line
1:58 2Q: Texas’ defense holds up again and gets a stop to force Alabama’s second punt of the game. The Longhorns take over on their own 9-yard line
4:06 2Q: Auburn caps a 14-play, 82-yard drive with a 29-yard field goal. The drive took 6:25 off the clock. Longhorns 13, Crimson Tide 3
11:10 2Q: David Gbenda comes up with a big quarterback sack and forces Alabama to punt. Huge play to get the Crimson Tide off the field.
13:26 2Q: TOUCHDOWN TEXAS: Ewers throws a rainbow and drops it in the bucket for Xavier Worthy. 44-yard touchdown. 4 plays, 75 yards, 1:29. PAT good. Longhorns 10, Crimson Tide 3
14:55 2Q: Bama kicker Will Reichard hits a 42-yard field goal and we’re tied. Longhorns 3, Crimson Tide 3
End 1Q: Texas 3, Alabama 0. The Crimson Tide’s drive stalls around the 20-yard line and they’ll have it 4th-and-10 to start the 2Q. Presumably, the field goal unit will be on the field
1:41 1Q: Milroe converts a 4th-and-3 with a throw into traffic and the ball finds Malik Benson for a first down
4:46 1Q: Xavier Worthy had a touchdown on 3rd-and-goal and it goes off his hands. Bert Auburn hits a 32-yard field goal on the next play. Longhorns 3, Crimson Tide 0
5:46 1Q: Texas converts a 4th-and-2 from the Alabama 12 with a sprint out by Ewers who finds Sanders for a 7-yard gain
6:59 1Q: JT Sanders alertly falls on the fumble after it gets stripped from AD Mitchell’s hands on the reverse. Break for the Longhorns to make it 2nd-and-5
8:27 1Q: INTERCEPTION TEXAS: Jahdae Barron picks off a Jalen Milroe pass and returns it to the Alabama 30-yard line.
10:55 1Q: Ryan Sanborn hits a perfect punt that’s downed inside the 5-yard line. Alabama’s first drive will start deep in their own territory.
11:09 1Q: Texas lines up like they’re going for it on 4th-and-6, but the Longhorns let the play clock run out and take the delay of game penalty and will punt.
14:53 1Q: First play of the game is a boundary screen to … running back CJ Baxter. It goes for a first down.
15:00 1Q: Alabama wins the toss and defers to the second half, so the Longhorns will receive the opening kick in a raucous Bryant-Denny Stadium
6:10 p.m.: Tonight’s captain for the Longhorns — T’Vondre Sweat, Xavier Worthy, Keilan Robinson, Jahdae Barron
5:55 p.m.: Sark soaking in the moment before the game at Bryant-Denny Stadium
5:45 p.m.: Just two guys talking about football, presumably