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Texas football: 3 takeaways from Longhorns’ narrow defeat to Alabama

NCAA Football, Texas football, Alabama football

Texas football just lost a tremendous heartbreaker to Alabama, 20-19. It was a crazy game for head coach Steve Sarkisian and the Texas football program that did not end well. On the flip side, Texas did give Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and his team everything they could take and then some.

In reality, the Crimson Tide needed a game-winning field goal with less than a minute remaining to secure the one-point victory. After Bryce Young led his team down the field during a two-minute drill, Alabama kicker Will Reichard hit the game-winning 32-yard field goal.

Truthfully, this game ended up being far closer than anyone had anticipated. Texas battled really hard, and now they have to deal with a couple of crucial injuries.

In the aftermath of this hotly-contested affair, here are three takeaways from Texas football’s narrow defeat to Alabama.

3. Quinn Ewers is pretty damn good

The Quinn Ewers we saw in this game, at least for the first quarter, was not the same as the one we saw in the regular season opener versus the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks. While Ewers was in the game against Alabama, the Texas football offense was on fire.

He made many excellent throws that put a lot of pressure on Alabama’s formidable defense. One highlight was an impressive 46-yard deep bomb to standout sophomore wide receiver Xavier Worthy shortly before he sustained a shoulder injury at the conclusion of the first quarter.

Before leaving the game with said injury, Ewers completed nine of his 12 passes for 134 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions. He displayed several more highlight plays that really showcased his incredible passing skill.

It’s also evident that Sarkisian trusts Ewers more than their other QB, Hudson Card, to open up the offensive playbook. When Ewers was in the game, there was a lot of action, deep passes, and generally aggressive play-calling.

I’m not sure if it was because of Card’s injury or a lack of faith in his ability to open up the offense, but it was evident that Sarkisian was far more inclined to open up the playbook for Ewers.

2. Jaylan Ford is scary

Texas football’s defense was one of the more encouraging narratives from the first two games of the season. Texas appears significantly better on defense this season than it did last year under defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski.

The fact that Texas only gave up 20 points against Alabama without turning the ball over once is extremely astounding. For much of the game, Texas gave Young difficulties in the pocket. Two important sacks were recorded, one by sophomore linebacker Jaylan Ford.

For virtually the whole game, Ford was a genuine spark plug for this defense. He had many quarterback pressures and one critical sack that appeared to be a rocket exploding through the Alabama defense.

We also didn’t see many of the missed tackle concerns that plagued Ford for most of the first half of last season.

Ford had 10 total tackles, two tackles for loss, a couple of quarterback pressures, and one sack in this game.

He led the defense, and he was scary. Still, he wasn’t the only Longhorns player to shine this weekend.

Ovie Oghoufo, Texas’ senior edge rusher, had five combined tackles and one critical sack.

Texas’ defense shone in this game, holding Alabama in check as the offense began to stutter in the second half. If the defense continues to develop at this rate moving into Big 12 play, the Longhorns could spring an upset or two.

1. Who plays QB now?

By now, we’re all aware of the horrific shoulder injury suffered by Quinn Ewers late in the first quarter. Afterward, however, junior Hudson Card came up hobbling after his first few snaps of the game. By then, it was clear that Texas football had suffered yet another unfortunate quarterback injury.

Card was limping the entire game, and it showed in the lack of velocity he was able to get on some of his passes in the second half. Card did, however, have remarkable resilience and fortitude in this one, finishing the contest.

The issue that Texas now has for the remainder of this challenging September schedule is quarterback depth. No one knows how long Ewers will be out after missing the rest of this game and being seen with his arm in a sling.

Looking ahead, if Card’s ankle ailment continues to bother him, it may bode trouble for the Longhorns. It goes without saying that it will be critical for Texas to be healthy under center before Big 12 action begins. Sarkisian, therefore, needs to closely monitor these two quarterbacks’ injuries moving forward.