Bryce Young’s insurance under pressure saves Alabama No. 1 from botched effort, potentially upset in Texas

The most concise summary of this century of winning football endured Saturday at the sweaty, sweltering, oppressive Darrell K. Royal Stadium: If you’ve got a quarterback, you’ve got a chance. A day when the No. 1 Alabama played their worst game ever, Bryce Young provided a compelling reminder of this mantra. The defending Heisman Trophy winner dominated the fourth quarter against Texas.

Eventually, that was enough that day when the Crimson Tide played for long stretches like they knew they were three-touchdown favorites and didn’t feel like working. Don’t worry: Nick Saban had a lot to say about it after the game.

For now, all that mattered was that Young was excellent while the best quarterback in Texas stood on the sidelines with his left arm in a sling. Freshman in red shirt Quinn ewers seemed to be on his way to his own magical afternoon when he was knocked out following a hit late in the first quarter by Bama linebacker Dallas Turner.

It’s easy to imagine a comfortable victory in Texas if Ewers had made his second career start. The ohio state transfer completed 9 of 12 passes for 134 yards with a 46-yard big throw to wide receiver Xavier Dignewho was performing his own performance in small groups.

The Longhorns rose enough in the first encounter between the powerhouse programs in 12 years to achieve what many Orangebloods considered in-game success: progress.

“If it’s the best team in the country,” Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said, “we took it on the wire. That should inspire a lot of confidence.”

Texas has been down for so long that moral victories, while not generally accepted, may be justifiable on this important Saturday. Backup QBs Map of Hudson was the game, limping for most of the game after being hit. Card had enough to lead the ‘Horns to a 49-yard field goal from Bert Auburn with 1:29 remaining.

DKR was ready to explode. The titles were pre-written: Auburn beats Alabama. After all, Auburn had scored 12 of Texas’ 19 points in the game.

But it was Young who turned the tide on his back and achieved the desired, albeit dramatic, result. Alabama’ Will Reichard nailed the game-winning 33-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in the 20-19 victory.

This allowed Saban to avoid his first regular season non-conference loss since his freshman year with the program (2007 vs. Louisiana-Monroe). It avoided an astonishing 15 penalties, a record for a team coached by Saban in the SEC (Bama, LSU). It avoided a brilliant game plan from Texas defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski and his sidekick Gary Patterson (a defensive analyst and former TOS legend of coaches).

With his team trailing 16-10 just minutes into the fourth quarter, Young completed 15 of his last 19 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown in the final 13 minutes of the game. More importantly, he put the mostly sputtering offense in position for Reichard’s kick. The game-winning 61 yards were completed on six completions on eight attempts by Young.

“Somehow the match ended,” Saban said.

“We train for times like this,” linebacker Will Anderson Jr.. said.

“We don’t hesitate,” Young said.

In fact, there were a lot of hesitations. It’s just that Young wouldn’t let the tide crumble. His 213 yards (27 of 39 passes) were the third fewest of his career since becoming a starter last season. That comes from a campaign in which he won the Heisman passing for nearly 5,000 yards and 47 touchdowns, an effort Alabama rode to a college football Playoff National Championship Appearance vs. Georgia which he led until the fourth quarter.

Young must now be mentioned as perhaps the best quarterback in Bama history. Time and time again last season, his legs bailed out an inconsistent Alabama offensive line that gave up 41 sacks. Texas added two more on Saturday, evidence defenses are determined not to afford to be part of back-to-back Young Heismans.

With time running out and his wide receivers consistently not showing up in the game, Young had a rebuttal.

“When you’re placed in those positions, you get to know each other as a team,” he said.

The 15 penalties committed by Bama were the highest since 2022, when Dennis Franchione was born. An Alabama kicker hadn’t made a game-winning kick with less than 5 minutes remaining since 2006. Why would he? The tide is usually comfortably ahead.

This one was supposed to be like that. In a meeting that was more about marks than backyard brawls, Alabama was a 20-point favorite. When Jace McClellan broke free for an 81-yard touchdown in the first quarter, it looked like the rout was underway.

Then Texas proved to be Bama’s equal. At least. The DKR crowd kicked off causing four false starts by Tide offensive linemen. The secondary – Saban’s baby as a positional coach – was nailed for two pass interference penalties on consecutive plays (defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry). The Big 12 crew may have missed a few more.

Perhaps Young’s biggest play was avoiding a safety in the third quarter. With the game tied 10-10, Texas’ Sweatshirt T’Vondre seemed to have sacked Young in the end zone. On the same play, the Horns linebacker DeMarvion overcame was called out for roughing up the passer and targeting.

None of this was accurate. A Big 12 referee called off the targeting and strangely canceled the rude call, explaining that he had received bad information. (Try to figure that one out.) Young had avoided a safety when, in desperation. he tossed the ball from Overshown’s helmet as it rolled onto Sweat’s back for an incomplete before hitting the ground.

It was gymnastics. It was sporty. That might have saved the game considering how close Texas was getting the ball back on safety in a low-scoring one-game crusher.

“Why is he so good? If I could really tell you, I don’t know if I would,” Saban said of Young. “It’s a very good job I have. [Seriously], the guy is studying, he is preparing well for the game. He understands what defense is and what it’s going to do…and he’s very, very instinctive. He plays quarterback like a point guard in basketball.”

This leader is expanding his portfolio. As brilliant as Young may be in the field, his recent series of Dr. Pepper “Fansville” commercials prove the kid can do it. They are legitimately funny.

It didn’t matter much on Saturday. All that mattered in that sweaty stadium — and for the Alabama dynasty — was that the quarterback looked at that field at the end of the fourth quarter, his team trailing, and saw victory.

“It’s where we like to be,” Young said.

Leave a Comment