No. 1 Alabama Visits Texas in First Matchup Since 2009 National Championship Game

Utah St Alabama Football

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, front right, runs with the ball against Utah State defensive lineman Hale Motu’apuaka (8) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Alabama and Heisman Trophy quarterback Bryce Young will face a Texas team on Saturday that has struggled to return to national prominence after losing to the Crimson Tide in the 2009 National Championship Game.

The game in January 2010 was their most recent matchup. It was the night that Coach Nick Saban won the first of his six National Championships at Alabama. For Texas, the years since have been without a single Big 12 title as the team has fired three coaches in an attempt to find its way back to the spotlight.

If any win could start some serious “Texas is back” talk, beating No. 1 Alabama would be it. Texas head coach and former Crimson Tide assistant Steve Sarkisian could get one over on his old boss Nick Saban and inject some serious juice back into the Texas program.

A big game by Alabama quarterback Bryce Young only increases the pending drumbeat for another Heisman Trophy campaign for him.

A key matchup is Texas freshman left tackle Kelvin Banks vs Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson. Texas thinks Banks will be a star someday, but Anderson is already college football’s standout defensive player after his 17 1/2 sacks last season. Banks must protect Texas freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers’ blindside from Anderson. That matchup could set the tone for just about everything the Longhorns do on offense.

Quarterback Bryce Young passed for five touchdowns and ran for another last week against Utah State. He’s the veteran playmaker on the field and will be expected to deliver again in a big game.

The game will be a preview of a future rivalry with Texas scheduled to join the SEC in 2025.

The game will be without Alabama’s Million Dollar Band, because the university decided not to take the band to Austin because Texas puts visiting bands in the upper deck of the stadium and requires it to use part of the visiting team ticket allotment.

(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

 

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