The first meeting between Alabama and Texas since the 2009 National Championship Game did not disappoint.
Alabama needed a late field goal to secure the victory over Texas by the score of 20-19. It didn't look pretty like last week's game, but a win is a win, and Alabama's playoff hopes are still intact.
While this wasn't the ideal outcome coach Nick Saban envisioned, he learned a lot about how his team handles pressure and adversity and what his team needs to work on. Playing in a tight game like this also provides the experience that some of the new faces need.
Let's take a look at some of the key takeaways from the game.
1 - Bryce Young
This was not the best performance statistically from the Crimson Tide quarterback, but even in adversity, he remained cool, calm and collected as usual as he delivered a Heisman moment. With only 1:29 left in the game on the road down two points, Bryce Young ran the two-minute offense to perfection, driving the Tide down the field 61 yards to set up the game-winning field goal.
2 - Penalties
Saturday was one of the sloppiest performances the Tide has had under Saban. The Crimson Tide racked up 100 yards from 15 penalties. The 15 penalties are the most in the Saban era and one short of the school record. Some of the penalties were as simple as the defense lining up offsides, while others showed a lack of discipline with roughing the passer and illegal blindside blocks.
3 - Run Defense
The Crimson Tide run defense did a great job holding the Longhorns to only 79 yards rushing. The highly skilled Texas running back Bijan Robinson was bottled up by Alabama's front seven, limiting him to only 57 yards on 21 carries. Robinson did have the Longhorns' only touchdown on a one-yard run.
4 - Secondary
The secondary struggled, allowing multiple big plays and committing multiple pass interference penalties. While Bijan Robinson may have been contained on the ground, he made up for his lack of success through the air, catching three passes for 73 yards. Xavier Worthy also was a matchup problem for the Tide secondary, catching five passes for a total of 97 yards. His longest grab, a 46-yard catch, set up the Longhorns' only touchdown.
5 - Running Backs
Outside of a first-half 81-yard touchdown run from Jase McClellan, the Tide's ground game left much to be desired. Alabama rushed the ball for only 161 yards, with half of the team's rush yards coming from the big play by McClellan. Bama running back Jahmyr Gibbs did not have the best game on the ground but shined in the passing game leading the way with a game-high nine receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown.
Looking forward, Gibbs should have a significant role in the passing game coming out of the backfield, causing a considerable mismatch for opposing defenses.
Although Alabama did not look sharp Saturday, the Tide did show perseverance and resilience.
Next week, the Crimson Tide will take on Louisiana Monroe. This should provide an easier matchup for Alabama to clean up some of its mistakes from Saturday.
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