Twenty-eight days before my first birthday, the Alabama Crimson Tide lost to the Texas Longhorns at the 1982 Cotton Bowl. Tonight, in front of a sell-out crowd at the Rose Bowl, these two schools skirted, stalked, and skated all over each other for buttered biscuit bragging rights over the BCS Championship trophy. Televised by ABC, and narrated by Kirk Herbstreit and Brent Musberger, the first quarter began with Longhorns safety Blake Gideon interception Crimson Tide quarterback Greg McElroy. Garrett Gilbert filled in for Colt McCoy on quarterbacking duties as the starting QB was on the sidelines account of some right shoulder discomfort. The Longhorns made three attempts to get into the end zone from the red zone but the Crimson Tide defense thwarted each one. Longhorns kicker Hunter Lawrence went on for a field goal, which was good. The Crimson Tide’s second turn at offense never went anywhere as the Longhorns recovered a wobbling kickoff-return ball. There was another successful field goal. Texas 6 and Alabama 0. Mon dieu, go Lone Star state.
The Crimson Tide slowly but surely got their act more together by the end of the first quarter. The second quarter sprang out a touchdown, courtesy of running back Mark Ingram. They scored another TD in the middle of the quarter, thanks to running back Trent Richardson. Alabama 14 and Texas 6. When the Longhorns went on offense next, Garrett Gilbert was picked off by Crimson Tide running back Javier Arenas. The first half ended with a Crimson Tide field goal and then a turnover as defensive linebacker Marcell Dareus got his hands on the ball and ran into the end zone. Alabama 24 and Texas 6. Double mon dieu and go Cotton State.
Colt McCoy would not be returning to the game, but he did eventually come back to the sidelines. Dear readers, if you watched the game, you have witnessed a real, non-fiction sports inspirational, especially if the Longhorns win. The third quarter marched three minutes in and Brent Musberger said, as the telecast cut to an extreme, extreme, high angle shot of the stadium, “So, security has been called to remove some idiot there.” What happened? I missed it! Game-play was considerably humdrum until Greg McElroy got sacked towards the bottom of the quarter. Musberger said it was the fifth time the Crimson Tide QB went down. A couple minutes later, Gilbert made a TD pass to wide receiver Jordan Shipley. Alabama 24 and Texas 13. With about ninety seconds left in the quarter, the Longhorns made another turnover (unfortunately, they weren’t able to score).
The Crimson Tide missed a field goal in the top of the fourth quarter. HOLY EDIBLE FLOWER ARRANGEMENTS!! Not only did Longhorns wide receiver Dan Buckner make a TD catch in the middle of the quarter and made the two-point conversion. Alabama 24 and Texas 21. Oohhh no. Garrett Gilbert was tackled, lost control of the ball, fell to the ground, and the ball went into the hands of Crimson Tide linebacker Courtney Upshaw at the three yard line. Two plays later, Mark Ingram got himself past the goal line with two minutes left in the game. Trent Richardson ran the ball in for a TD in the final minute; the extra point was no good. Alabama 37 and Texas 21. Final score. The Alabama Crimson Tide can gorge on buttered biscuit bragging rights. And now for a costume change:
Observations & Miscellania:
1. The pre-game segment (as broadcast in Georgia) included a segment on an Alabama alumnus and former Crimson Tide cheerleader, Susan Harris Palmer. She was attended summer session at Alabama when Vivian Malone was the first black female student there. JFK attended one of the games at which she cheered. Her last appearance on the sidelines was in 1965’s Alabama vs. Texas Orange Bowl game. The Longhorns won then.
3. The National Anthem was not performed by Audra McDonald from the TV show Private Practice. Are the Bowl Games trying to tap into formerly unmarketed talents? She sang “America the Beautiful” instead. Not one of the better performances, I don’t think. Not nerves…just not very moving. I was moved watching the Longhorns and the Crimson Tide run out of the tunnel.
4. According to commentators, Nick Saban apparently told his team before the game that the US Men’s hockey team beat the Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics to qualify to play in the gold medal game against Finland and that Alabama would be Texas’s Finland. I surmise that Saban meant that Texas still has to beat Alabama. Just getting to the BCS Championship game isn’t enough.
5. The Longhorns wore white jerseys and white pants; the Crimson Tide wore red jerseys.
6. What the cracker jack?! Josh Groban sang “The Star Spangled Banner” and Flea accompanied him on bass. WHAT?! The patriotic fireworks was neat and pertty but honestly, could the pre-game activities just go away and the let the boys play?! I’m twenty-two days older than Josh Groban.
8. Was it the crowd noise or are the Crimson Tide and the Longhorns borne of a different kind of energy because tonight’s game began with much more umph and than the other bowl games.
9. Yes, it snowed in Atlanta. When I got home from work around 3:30PM:
Tonight around 9:30 PM:
10. Dave Matthews Band performed during halftime.
11. Brent Musberger noted after the Longhorns’ two-point conversion that Greg McElroy has won every football game in which he was a starting QB since he was in eighth grade.
Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.