AUSTIN, Texas — Will Reichard kicked a 33-yard field goal with 10 seconds left, and Bryce Young and No. 1 Alabama overcame a stifling defensive effort by Texas to earn a hard-fought 20-19 victory Saturday.
Young was hit and harassed by the Texas defense most of the game, but the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback put together a big fourth quarter.
He had a twisting, off-balance touchdown pass, and then a 20-yard scramble in the final minute to set up Reichard’s winning kick. Young easily dodged a blitzing defender, then had wide open field ahead of him to scamper.
Young’s clutch play rescued Alabama on an uncharacteristically sloppy day when the Crimson Tide (2-0) struggled with penalties and dropped passes and was forced into six consecutive punts in one stretch. Texas (1-1) stuffed Alabama on fourth-and-inches late to set up a go-ahead field goal by Bert Auburn with 1:39 remaining.
Young also spoiled what could have been a program-defining victory for Texas and second-year coach Steve Sarkisian. Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers was knocked out with a shoulder injury at the end of the first quarter.
The steady hand of backup Hudson Card and an inspired defense helped Texas build a 16-10 lead early in the fourth, and then drive for the lead again on Auburn’s fourth field goal of the day.
Young was 27-of-39 passing for 213 yards with the scrambling TD throw to Jahmyr Gibbs that gave Alabama a 17-16 lead. Jase McLellan had an 81-yard touchdown run for Alabama in the first quarter.
Alabama avoided its first nonconference loss since 2007 against Louisiana-Monroe in coach Nick Saban’s first season.
Alabama: The Tide was all out of sorts. Eleven first-half penalties and dropped passes showed a level of sloppy play seldom seen by Saban teams. Last season’s Bronco Nagurski Award winner Will Anderson struggled to make plays against an inexperience Texas offensive line.
Texas: The Longhorns let a huge win get away. Now they also have questions at quarterback if Ewers is out for an extended period. He was electric early against the Tide and had already passed for 134 yards in the first quarter before he was hurt when linebacker Dallas Turner drove him into the ground.
Alabama hosts Louisiana-Monroe.
Texas hosts UTSA next Saturday.
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