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2010 Texas-Alabama game sent programs in much different directions

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A football game that dramatically changed the trajectory of the legendary college football program — Jan. 7, 2010.

Texas entered the BCS National Championship seeking its second title in five years, while Alabama sought to win its first in 18 years.

Texas has won 10 or more games for the ninth straight season, while Alabama has won three double-digit winning seasons in the past nine years.

That night at the Rose Bowl, Texas intercepted Alabama with a fake punt in the opener at the Crimson Tide 37-yard line. Five games later, Colt McCoy suffered a neck injury during his first practice at the 11-yard line in Alabama. Freshman Garrett Gilbert played, Texas shot first, and after the first quarter hit a second shot to lead 6-0.

With McCoy in the locker room, Alabama scored 24 unanswered points in the second quarter, including a tackle interception, to lead 24-6 in the first half. After Gilbert’s pair of touchdown passes to Jordan Shipley, Texas closed within three with 6:15 to go 24-21.

Texas trailed the ball by 3 with less than 3 minutes left, but Alabama fumbled in the last 13 to win 37-21. Texas wondered what would have happened if their Heisman Trophy runner-up McCoy had been able to play the full game, a result head coach Mike Brown admitted years later he struggled to let go socket.

Over the next 12 years, Texas won just 10 games in 2018, the same year they fought for their only Big 12 championship game during that streak. The Longhorns are 84-67 in that stretch, have lost five seasons since that game, and Steve Sarkisian is the program’s fourth head coach.

Meanwhile, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama’s championship game was the unprecedented start of the modern era of college football. Alabama has won five more national championships and lost three more championship games, including last season.

During that span, Alabama went 165-17. Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian was involved in 38 of those wins, including serving as the offensive coordinator for the 2020 national championship team. Sarkisian took the job in Texas, then returned to work in Alabama before the Crimson Tide won’t beat Ohio State 52-24. During the 2020 season, Alabama’s offense is averaging 48.5 points per game.

Sarkisian understands how eager Texas fans are to get back to the national team, but cautioned the game is a turning point in the plan.

“I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is that it will be the game that defines our plans,” Sarkisian said. “Maybe, maybe not, I’m not that worried. I’m more concerned about how we play the game. My goal is December 3 in Dallas [Big 12 Championship game in Arlington]. This game has no effect on that. It’s a great opportunity, two great teams, two great coaches, in an incredible environment. “

The game marked the third time Texas had hosted a No. 1 team. In 1950, Texas defeated No. 1 SMU 23-20. In 2006, the No. 2 Longhorns lost 24-7 to No. 1 Ohio State. Overall, Texas has faced the No. 1 team 16 times and won five of those games – most recently in 2008’s epic 45-35 win over Oklahoma State.

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