In spite of all of the freak injuries, Alabama vs. Texas was a great matchup of NFL draft prospects on Saturday. Both teams played stout defense throughout, not allowing either offense to show much explosiveness.
Although the situation looked dire for the Crimson Tide late, the team managed to stave off a potential upset due, in part, to the heroics of their Heisman-winning quarterback. Alabama would take a narrow 20-19 victory over the Longhorns, despite the efforts of the latter’s defense.
The first drives for both teams ended with a field goal, giving the teams a dead tie. Alabama managed to chip away at the Longhorns’ defense with their rotation of running backs, but came up short. For Texas, transfer quarterback Quinn Ewers looked as good as advertised, making some incredible deep passes.
Alabama would score again on their second drive with an 81-yard Jace McClellan touchdown run. Ewers would continue his efficient passing on the Longhorns’ second drive before suffering a shoulder injury on a throw-away pass. Alabama EDGE Dallas Turner would get called for a roughing the passer penalty after falling on Ewers in a freak incident.
Backup Hudson Card would replace Ewers, but also would struggle with an apparent injury through the game. In any case, the Longhorns would finish the drive with a touchdown from Bijan Robinson.
Neither team would score again in the first half, with the next score coming from Texas on a Brett Auburn field goal. After stopping Alabama’s offense, the Longhorns would score from another field, goal bringing the score to 16-10.
Down six at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Crimson Tide would march down the field and score on a Jahmyr Gibbs touchdown reception. With the score now 17-16, the Longhorns would respond with a 49-yard field goal giving Texas the lead late into the fourth quarter.
With 1:29 left of the clock, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young would orchestrate a masterful drive to set up the game-winning field goal.
Alabama vs. Texas NFL Draft Prospects Review
It goes without saying that the star of the show Saturday was Bryce Young. Despite not having an incredible statistical outing, the final drive was nothing short of remarkable. Young was surgical with his passes, but also showed off his athleticism, escaping a cornerback sack with a simple duck-and-run. Young is the clear-cut QB1 right now, and it may not be close if he continues on his current track.
It was a relatively quiet day for Will Anderson, as well. He had a few off-sides penalties, but made up for it with a key 3rd down sack late in the four quarter.
His teammates Jaylen Moody and Henry To’oTo’o also looked solid in the box. However, the real stars this weekend in the trenches were the Crimson Tide defensive line. DJ Dale and Byron Young did a great job establishing leverage and made some nice plays in the backfield.
For Texas, Bijan Robinson looked solid but could never find the right crease to run through. Even with a touchdown, it was not the star performance on-lookers would’ve expected. The same could be said for his running mate in Roschon Johnson, who also struggled versus the Alabama front.
The stars of the Texas offense were wide receivers Xavier Worthy and Jordan Whittington. Worthy shined early with a couple big catches, but trailed off in the second half. Whittington, however, was a consistent safety blanket for Card, doing plenty of damage in the middle of the field.
On defense, linebacker Jaylan Ford made a few nice plays in-between the tackles. He looked sharp as he flowed to the football, and was the most impressive player on the Longhorns defense. DeMarvion Overshown was quiet, but still made a few stops here and there.
Similarly to Alabama, the Longhorn’s defensive line had a few nice plays. EDGE Ovie Oghoufo had a great sack for Texas in the first quarter using his first step quickness. T’Vondre Sweat would have had a safety, but was ruled an incompletion on a weird third down play. Sweat, along with Moro Ojomo and Keondre Coburn, were excellent at stopping the run on Saturday — save for the McClellan touchdown.