PASADENA, Calif. – Talk about high emotion. The first quarter had a little bit of everything, some puzzling, some disappointing.
And the team that should have had all the momentum, Texas, was instead stunned by the loss of its star quarterback.
The quarter closed with Alabama knocking on the door.
Key play: What was Nick Saban thinking? Bottled up on its first possession, facing a fourth-and-23 at the Alabama 20, punter P.J. Fitzgerald's pass off a fake was picked off by Blake Gideon. Texas mounted a 10-play, 36-yard scoring drive capped by Hunter Lawrence's 18-yard field goal.
Key play II: A successful pooch kick kept the Longhorns chugging. Brock McHenry's monster hit forced an Alabama fumble. Curtis Brown recovered, setting Texas up at the 30. Lawrence's 42-yard field goal made it 6-0.
Key injury: Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy was knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury on Texas' first possession. Early reports were that McCoy might be done for the game. Garrett Gilbert replaced the All-American. Gilbert couldn't get Texas into the end zone as McCoy went to the locker room.
Key stat: Texas two sacks (Sam Acho, Lamarr Houston).