Alabama football torched by big-play Texas offense, falls hard at home in national showdown

Nick Saban stressed throughout the preseason the importance of playing winning football. He already didn't get it in the second game of the season against Texas.

Penalties, turnovers and issues defending deep passes filled the primetime game on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama football fought to make a game of it, but those blemishes ultimately resulted in a 34-24 loss to Texas in the second game of the season.

Here are takeaways and observations from the game between No. 3 Alabama (1-1) and No. 10 Texas (2-0).

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Jalen Milroe puts together rollercoaster performance

A week earlier, Milroe put together a strong first performance with five touchdowns. He didn't turn the ball over either. He looked to be, without question, Alabama's starter by a mile.

Then against Texas, Milroe showed he still has plenty on which to work. Milroe had a blemish right away, throwing an interception on an ill-advised pass across the field right where two defensive players waited. He threw another, a killer interception across the field in the fourth quarter.

His offensive line didn't help him much at times, but Milroe also didn't look as polished as he did in the first game. He had a few bright spots, including a 49-yard touchdown to Jermaine Burton to give Alabama the lead in the third quarter and a 39-yard score to Amari Niblack in the fourth. But overall, Milroe played in a way that made you hold your breath anytime he passed, especially in intermediate routes.

Mixed results for offensive line

Issues with pass protection don't solely fall on the offensive line, but there were plenty of moments where the group struggled.

There was a play in the second quarter where Texas only rushed three and still got to Milroe way too quickly, forcing him to bail.

Burton had two touchdowns taken off the board because of penalties on offensive linemen: On one touchdown, lineman Darrian Dalcourt was downfield. On a later touchdown, left tackle Kadyn Proctor was called for holding.

The big men up front opened holes in the running game at times, but the group certainly needs some more consistency.

Penalty problem pops up again

Hello penalties, Alabama's old friend.

A week ago, the Crimson Tide looked to have ditched its penalty problem with only two. Then against Texas, the flags emerged and derailed Alabama on multiple occasions, often getting in the way of the offense and leading to third-and-long situations. Alabama had amassed 10 penalties going into the final two minutes.

Nick Kelly covers Alabama football and men's basketball for The Tuscaloosa News, part of the USA TODAY Network. Reach him at or follow him @_NickKelly on X, the social media app formerly known as Twitter.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Alabama football falls hard at home in national showdown vs. Texas