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Texas A&M Football

SEC Round-Up: Old 'friends' meet in Austin when Alabama faces Texas

September 8, 2022
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Ever dip a toe in the water before diving in just to gauge temperature?

The Texas Longhorns are dipping.

Of course, Texas and Oklahoma will exit the embattled Big 12 to join the emboldened Southeastern Conference in 2025, probably sooner.

The Longhorns will get a feel of what's to come when they play host to top-ranked Alabama on Saturday at 11 a.m. CT.

It’s a non-conference matchup between two historical powers who met for the 2009 national championship. Since then, Alabama has made history, while Texas largely has been history.

In the years following Alabama’s 37-21 win over Texas, the Crimson Tide has won five more championships. Meanwhile, Texas has experienced five losing seasons. That includes last season in which the Longhorns finished 5-7.

In the years following Alabama’s 37-21 win over Texas, the Crimson Tide has won five more championships. Meanwhile, Texas has experienced five losing seasons. That includes last season in which the Longhorns finished 5-7.

Almost every follower of college football anticipates an easy victory for Alabama, which is a 20-point favorite.

However, Alabama coach Nick Saban, in typical coachspeak, warned that isn’t necessarily the case.

“We obviously have a huge challenge, a pretty heavy load in terms of playing on the road against a good team,” Saban said. "I think everybody needs to understand that if you’re going to pull the load, you got to prepare the right way, work the right way. You can’t make mental errors. You got to stay focused when you’re playing on the road.”

Somebody should’ve informed Saban that going into DKR-Memorial Stadium is quite like going into the proverbial lion’s den.

Just last season, the Longhorns were just 2-2 at home against Power Five opponents. One of those losses was to Kansas.

The Longhorns haven’t fared well against SEC teams, either. In the last 10 years, Texas is 2-4 vs. the SEC. One of those victories was over a disinterested Georgia in the 2018 Sugar Bowl.

Last year, the Longhorns were blown out at Arkansas, 40-21. In 2019, they fell at home to eventual national champion LSU, 45-38, but that was before the Tigers hit their stride.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
In their season opener, Nick Saban’s first-ranked Tide defeated Utah State, 55-0.  

No doubt, Texas is hoping to catch Alabama before Alabama catches fire. But the Crimson Tide opened by routing overmatched Utah State, 55-0, so that’s probably wishful thinking.

Texas faithful will point to star running back Bijan Robinson, big-play receiver Xavier Worthy and heralded-but-unproven quarterback Quinn Ewers as reasons the Longhorns could pull off an upset.

Alabama faithful would point to Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young and star linebacker Will Anderson as reasons the Longhorns will merely be upset at the final score.

Even if Texas is blown out as expected, the Longhorns can find solace in that it’s only one game against a powerful opponent.

Or they can face the fact that once they’re in the SEC, they will face powerful opponents almost on a weekly basis.

Around the SEC

This week’s games: Appalachian State at No. 6 Texas A&M; No. 1 Alabama at Texas; South Carolina at No. 16 Arkansas; No. 23 Wake Forest at Vanderbilt; Missouri at Kansas State; No. 24 Tennessee at No. 17 Pittsburgh; Samford at No. 2 Georgia; No. 20 Kentucky at No. 12 Florida; Central Arkansas at No. 22 Ole Miss; San Jose State at Auburn; Southern at LSU; Mississippi State at Arizona

Who’s hot: South Carolina’s special teams. Obviously, Shane Beamer is following in the footsteps of his father, Frank Beamer, who had a reputation for fielding exceptional special teams units when he was the coach at Virginia Tech. Last week, the Gamecocks blocked two punts and returned them for touchdowns in the second half to secure a 35-14 victory over Georgia State.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Last season, the Gamecocks achieved bowl eligibility for the first time since 2018 in Beamer’s first year at the helm.  

Who’s not: LSU special teams. You saw it. Special teams literally caused the Tigers to fall 24-23 to Florida State. Twice, Malik Nabers fumbled away punts deep in LSU’s end of the field. Remarkably neither resulted in Florida State points. But kicker Damian Ramos had a 30-yard field goal attempt blocked and a potentially game-tying extra point blocked on the final play of the game.

Keep an eye on: The Arkansas secondary. Preseason All-American safety Jalen Catalon and nickel back Myles Slusher sustained undisclosed injuries in the opening win over Cincinnati. Their status is uncertain. If they’re unable to play, Georgia transfer Latavious Brini likely will start in place of Catalon, and sophomore Jayden Johnson likely will replace Slusher. Even at full strength the Razorbacks’ passing defense figures to be tested by South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler, a transfer from Oklahoma. Rattler passed for 227 yards and a touchdown against Georgia State.

The pressure is on: The Texas A&M offensive line struggled in run blocking in a season-opening 31-0 victory over Sam Houston. The Aggies only rushed for 110 yards. Star tailback Devon Achane was limited to 42 yards on 18 carries. A&M has to run effectively for long-term success. That has to start against Appalachian State, which allowed 215 rushing yards in an opening 63-61 loss to North Carolina. The Aggies' running game could be in big trouble this season if they cannot run on Appalachian State.

Best matchup: Kentucky is projected to have a strong defense, especially against the run. The Wildcats were fourth in the SEC in rushing defense last season. They allowed just 111 rushing yards in their opening victory over Miami (OH). Thirty-six of those came on two carries. They will be tested more severely against Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson. A week ago, Richardson rushed for 106 yards and three touchdowns in an upset of Utah. The Gators will again rely heavily on Richardson’s running ability.

Discussion from...

SEC Round-Up: Old 'friends' meet in Austin when Alabama faces Texas

3,005 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 19 days ago by DatTallArchitect
jigsaw87
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Bryant03
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AG
"Somebody should've informed Saban that going into DKR-Memorial Stadium is quite like going into the proverbial lion's den."

Is or isn't? Really??
ccatag
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AG
Glad to see you work that tu home loss to Kansas in to this article.
DatTallArchitect
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AG
Bryant03 said:

"Somebody should've informed Saban that going into DKR-Memorial Stadium is quite like going into the proverbial lion's den."

Is or isn't? Really??
I read that as a Daniel and the lion's den reference where the lions (sips) were unable to do anything
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