Alabama and Texas first squared off on the gridiron 116 years ago. The Longhorns prevailed 10-0, and won or tied a total of eight consecutive games against the Crimson Tide until Nick Saban led ‘Bama to a National Championship Game victory in January 2010.
This week, the schools announced they have revived the series with a home-and-home agreement. In 2022, they will play in Austin. In 2023, they will play in Tuscaloosa.
We decided to dive a little deeper into the history between these programs. Texas has dominated the overall picture, yes, but the ‘Horns most recent victory over the Tide was nearly four decades ago.
Here’s a closer look:
1902: Texas 10, Alabama 0
These teams’ first-ever meeting came at The Quad on the University of Alabama campus. It was the only time this series was ever played in Tuscaloosa, though that drought is scheduled to end in 2023. Texas back John A. Jackson scored the lone touchdown.
1915: Texas 20, Alabama 0
An Alabama team that outscored the rest of its opponents 250-51 completely fell apart in Austin. The headline of the Austin American-Statesman sports section the following day read: “Longhorns, in great form, sweep Alabamans off feet…”
Per that account, the final score would’ve been much closer had Alabama kicker W.T. Van de Graaff — the Crimson Tide’s first-ever All-American — been blessed with better weather conditions. He missed three attempts despite an “accurate and cool” approach.
1922: Texas 19, Alabama 10
The Crimson Tide finally got on the scoreboard against the Longhorns. A somewhat ho-hum ‘Bama team capitalized on an early turnover to grab a 7-0 lead, but Texas fought back to claim a 14-7 advantage before the end of the first quarter. From there, the teams played a back-and-forth, turnover-filled contest that the Austin American-Statesman called “the best game so far played at Clark Field this season.”
1948: Texas 27, Alabama 7
Legendary quarterback Bobby Layne capped his college career with an MVP performance in the 1948 Sugar Bowl. The future NFL star began the day with a 5-yard first-quarter touchdown pass and finished with a 1-yard scoring run.
Alabama passer Harry Gilmer was supposed to match Layne’s firepower, but he struggled mightily in the second half. He finished just 3-of-11 passing for 35 yards and only managed to tack on 5 rushing yards in defeat. Gilmer did manage one victory, though. Two weeks earlier, he was selected No. 1 overall in the NFL draft by the Washington Redskins. Layne went two picks later to the Chicago Bears.
1960: Texas 3, Alabama 3
In Bear Bryant’s third season with Alabama and Darrell Royal’s fourth with Texas, the programs played a snoozer in the Bluebonnet Bowl. Both teams had excellent chances to win. An apparent first-half touchdown run by ‘Bama quarterback Bobby Skelton was ruled down at the 1, and Texas later missed a 35-yard field goal with the game on the line.
Bryant, who had coined the “kissing your sister” line about tie games years earlier, was in fine spirits after the game, joking with writers and telling the Austin American-Statesman, “I am proud of Alabama.”
1965: Texas 21, Alabama 17
Undefeated and No. 1-ranked Alabama got a memorable performance from star quarterback Joe Namath, but couldn’t quite cap a 14-point comeback against No. 5 Texas. Unknown second-string Longhorns quarterback Jim Hudson tossed a 69-yard touchdown pass and running back Ernie Koy set an Orange Bowl record with a 79-yard scoring run to help Texas pull the upset.
Alabama drove to the Texas goal line with time running out, but Longhorns linebacker Tommy Nobis stuffed Namath’s quarterback sneak. The next morning, Namath signed a $400,000 contract with the American Football League’s New York Jets. As former NFL star Paul Hornung noted in the Miami News: “That Namath is great and will make a great pro.”
1973: Texas 17, Alabama 13
A pair of interceptions by defensive back Steve Wade helped give No. 4 Alabama a 13-3 halftime lead over No. 7 Texas in the 1973 Cotton Bowl. It didn’t last long. Longhorns quarterback Steve Lowry settled down and led a pair of second-half touchdown drives, running in both himself out of the wishbone.
Alabama had a final chance to claim victory, but a last-second drive stalled on fourth-and-1 at midfield. The loss stretched its winless postseason streak to six years, and it would be three more years before Bear Bryant snapped out of his late-season funk.
1982: Texas 14, Alabama 12
Bear Bryant’s penultimate season ended in disappointment. No. 3 Alabama squared off against No. 6 Texas in the Cotton Bowl, and the Crimson Tide held a 10-0 lead early in the fourth quarter. But a pair of lengthy touchdown drives led by quarterback Robert Brewer put the Longhorns ahead 14-10 with a little more than 2 minutes remaining.
The ending was certainly dramatic: Alabama returned the ensuing kickoff all the way to the Texas 38-yard line, then Walter Lewis threw an interception at the 1. On fourth down, Texas purposefully took a safety to make it 14-12, punted away the “kickoff,” and held strong in the final moments to secure the win.
2010: Alabama 37, Texas 21
Alabama raced out to a 24-6 halftime lead after knocking Texas star quarterback Colt McCoy out of the game. But backup Garrett Gilbert overcame an awful start to bring the Longhorns to within 24-21 midway through the fourth quarter. A strip sack ended the threat, and Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram (116 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns) sealed the win with a scoring plunge.
The win marked Alabama’s first national title in 17 years. It capped a perfect season, the first — and still only — under Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa.
Do you have any memories of the Alabama-Texas series? Let us know in the comments section below.