TUSCALOOSA, Al. – The University of Alabama will welcome the Texas Longhorns to Bryant-Denny Stadium this Saturday for the Longhorns first trip to Tuscaloosa since the two teams’ first matchup back in 1902. In honor of the 11th matchup between the two, we’re looking back at three of the most important games in the history of the series.
The “Crimson White” faces its inaugural battle with the Longhorns
It was Nov. 11, 1902, both schools had only begun their football programs ten years earlier, and both were a part of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The Longhorns were being coached by J.B Hart and the Tide by J.O Heyworth and Eli Abbott.
The game began as a defensive battle, with both offenses coming up with little to nothing to show for themselves. But late in the first half the Longhorns broke through with two colossal runs that put them in the red zone. They would cap the drive off with a double pass touchdown to take a 5-0 lead into halftime.
Texas would begin the second half with the ball and drive right back down the field to put the game away. John A. Jackson scored the Longhorns’ second and final touchdown of the game to put Texas up 10-0.
The Crimson White – as they were called then – could not match the size of the Longhorns, and Texas would walk out of Tuscaloosa with a 10-0 victory. They’d finish the season 6-3-1. Alabama would recover, defeat Georgia Tech, and finish the season 4-4.
Mark Ingram and Nick Saban’s first crown
Over a hundred years later on Jan. 7, 2010 in Pasadena California, Nick Saban would capture the Tide’s eighth national championship with a 37-21 victory over the Longhorns – coached by fellow legendary coach Mack Brown.
Alabama was led by Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram who finished the game with 116 yards and two touchdowns. The Tide only threw the ball 11 times, finishing with over 200 yards on the ground. The defense dominated, knocking starting quarterback Colt McCoy out early and then proceeding to pick off backup Garrett Gilbert four times, even returning one for a touchdown. This would cap off a perfect 14-0 season for Alabama and Nick Saban and company would hoist the first of six national championship trophies in the Saban era.
Young flexes his clutch gene
In the most recent matchup, Bryce Young, Will Anderson and the number one ranked Tide made the trip to Austin for the first time since 1922 when Texas defeated Alabama 19-10. With only one victory over Texas all-time heading into this matchup, it was known the game would be anything but easy.
In an eerie callback to the 2010 National Championship, Texas’s starting quarterback would once again exit the game with an injury. This time it was Quinn Ewers and just like Colt McCoy it was due to a shoulder injury.
After each team ran for a touchdown in the first half – one by Jase McClellan and one by Bijan Robinson – the score was deadlocked at 10-10. Texas would kick two field goals in the second half to take a 16-10 lead early in the fourth quarter. That was until Bryce Young found Jahmyr Gibbs in the end zone to give the Tide a 17-16 lead.
The Longhorns would answer with a field goal to take a 19-17 lead with 1:29 remaining in the game. But as became commonplace over his time with Alabama, Bryce Young would make a few heroic plays to set Tide kicker Will Reichard up with a chance to win the game. Reichard would nail a 33 yard field goal with 10 seconds remaining that would seal the victory for Alabama 20-19.
After their nail-biting victory last year, Alabama now holds a 2-7-1 record versus Texas all-time, but will look to make it three in a row on Saturday night.
Nazario Pangallo is a contributor for WVUA-FM and is a co-host of Gameday on 90.7 FM from 8-10 a.m. CT Saturday mornings.