Texas Longhorns ranked No. 4 in latest AP Poll; Highest ranking since 2009
The Texas Longhorns are fresh off a 34-24 victory against Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Saturday night. The win catapulted the Longhorns into the fourth spot in the latest AP Poll rankings, their highest ranking since the end of the 2009 season (No. 2), when they won the Big-12 title (vs. Nebraska) and competed for the BCS National Championship (vs. Alabama).
Texas was led by quarterback Quinn Ewers, who arguably had the best game of his collegiate career thus far. Ewers passed for 349 yards and 3 touchdowns while having completed 63 percent of his passes. The Texas pass-catching room had a prolific outing in the upset victory. Junior wideout Ja’Tavion Sanders led the receiving core with 5 catches for 115 yards with an average of 22.8 yards per reception. Junior pass catcher Xavier Worthy contributed 5 catches for 75 yards along with a touchdown and junior receiver Adonai Mitchell added 2 touchdowns of his own.
Ewers increased his Heisman odds immensely by exhibiting incredible poise while playing in a hostile environment at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Ohio State transfer demonstrated solid accuracy with long-distance passes as he connected with Worthy for a 44-yard touchdown strike in the 2nd quarter and a 39-yard touchdown pass to Mitchell that effectively ended the game in the 4th quarter.
The 2009 Big-12 champions not only had a prolific outing offensively, but also defensively. Texas defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski and his defense contained Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe and forced him to play from the pocket. Milroe accounted for 255 passing yards, two interceptions and averaged only 2.9 yards per rush (44 yards total). The Longhorn defense sacked Milroe five times in the matchup and made sure to garner pressure on Milroe in 3rd and long situations, when he was forced to pass.
The Longhorns also suppressed the Crimson Tide’s prolific running back tandem of senior Jase McClellan and senior Roydell Williams as they both didn’t garner more than four yards per carry. As a team, Alabama’s ground game averaged 3.1 yards per rush.
Texas senior defensive backs Jadae Barron and Jerrin Thompson each accounted for an interception in the matchup. Five different Texas defensive players accounted for a sack including sophomore linebacker Ethan Burke (1.0), senior linebacker David Gbenda (1.0), freshman linebacker Anthony Hill Jr. ( 1.5), senior defensive lineman T’Vondre Sweat (1.0) and freshman defensive lineman Jaray Bledsoe (0.5).
After a dominating performance by the Longhorns, they go home to do battle against Wyoming on 9/16.
As for Alabama, they dropped to the tenth spot in the AP Poll rankings and will travel to take on South Florida next Saturday