Alabama Wins the Title, But Longhorns Show Texas-Size Heart

Bryan FlynnAnalyst IJanuary 8, 2010

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 07:  Running back Mark Ingram #22 and the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrate with the BCS Championship trophy after winning the Citi BCS National Championship game over the Texas Longhorns at the Rose Bowl on January 7, 2010 in Pasadena, California. The Crimson Tide defeated the Longhorns 37-21.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Most will write about Alabama winning its 13th claimed national title. Or that this game saw the Southeastern Conference win this fourth title game in a row.

Maybe they will write about Mark Ingram break the jinx on Heisman Trophy winners running for 116 yards and two touchdowns. They could wax on about the dominance of the Crimson Tide defense with five turnovers.

A lot of people will write about what could have been if Texas quarterback Colt McCoy had not been injured. The story could be any of those things but while Alabama deserves credit for winning. The Longhorns deserve credit for the fight and heart they showed.

Early it looked like Texas was going to run Alabama out of the Rose Bowl after a fake punt leading to an interception and a fumble on the ensuing kickoff.  The turnovers lead to six points but it was after the fumble the game changed.

With just under 11 minutes to go in the first quarter McCoy faked a handoff and ran off the left sideline. McCoy was hit by Marcell Dareus that injured the Texas quarterbacks’ right shoulder.

The Longhorns with a six point lead then saw the wheels come off after the loss of McCoy. Alabama would then take the next kickoff and go down and score their first touchdown.

Texas had to turn to freshman Garrett Gilbert for the rest of the ball game. The true freshman was harassed by the Alabama defense the rest of the first half.

The Crimson Tide would go on to score 24 straight points after the injury to Colt. The last coming seconds before the half after Dareus intercepted a shovel pass for a touchdown.

The Longhorns could have called it quits after the first half and mailed it in the second half but they did not. The Texas defense stiffened and got stops of the Tide offense to keep the game close.

To be fair Alabama’s offense went very conservative in the second half for most of it. Still Texas did not quit and by the end of the third quarter Gilbert find Jordan Shipley for a touchdown to cut the lead to 24-13.

In the fourth quarter Gilbert would find Shipley again for his second touchdown of the game. The Longhorns would make the two point conversion to cut the lead to 24-21.

Texas would fall apart again after cutting the lead down to three. Gilbert would fumble the ball after being hit by Eryk Anders and Alab Upshaw recovered the fumble.

Alabama would go down and get Ingram is second touchdown and his first since the second quarter. Gilbert would throw his fourth interception of the game to Javier Arenas.

The Crimson Tide would score again to put the game out of reach at 37-21. The Longhorns downfall came with just over three minutes to go and rallying back to be down by only three points.

The Tide becomes the first national champion since the Longhorns in 2005 to finish the season undefeated. Mark Ingram becomes just the second Heisman winner to win the BCS championship game. The only other winner of a BCS title and a Heisman was Matt Leinart.

Give all the credit to Alabama for winning the title. We will never know how this game would have turned out if McCoy had stayed healthy and it is a disservice to both the Crimson Tide and the Longhorns to even speculate on that.

What is known is that with everything against them and their senior leader and Heisman candidate gone Texas showed more heart as a team, except for maybe Connecticut, than any other team in college football.

Freshman quarterback Garrett Gilbert played great for a long stretch of the third quarter and fourth quarter and showed the future is bright in Austin. Senior wide receiver Jordan Shipley did not give up after his quarterback and best friend Colt McCoy was out of the ball game.

The whole Texas defense showed fight, pride, and heart the entire game. From the start to the end the Longhorns defense gave head coach Mack Brown and defensive coordinator Will Muschamp nothing to be ashamed about.

The night belongs to Alabama but the rest of the country should give a tip of the hat to the Texas Longhorns. The way Texas played show everything that is good about college football.

They should be saluted and this effort should not be forgotten by college football fans. Nick Saban and the Alabama players showed a ton of class by tipping their hat to the Longhorns.

The future looks bright in Tuscaloosa as well. Most of this team will be back for the 2010 season including Ingram who will have a chance at two Heisman’s.

Nick Saban wins his second title seven years and three days after his first at LSU. He is also the only coach to win two BCS titles at two difference schools.

Next year we could see both these teams playing for the title again in 2010. The Longhorns know that the Oklahoma Sooners will have lot to say about that as well as the Florida Gators to the Crimson Tide.

Congratulations to both teams for reaching the Rose Bowl. Alabama sits atop the college football world and we owe them a nod.

But most of all thank you, Texas for showing us why we love sports with your heart and pride. The Longhorns might not be champions but they sure as hell played like champions.


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