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Keys to the game between No. 3 Alabama and No. 11 Texas

Texas faces a daunting task on Saturday night. The team travels to face the kings of college football in the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The game presents a high level of difficulty, but still grants Texas a chance to win. Last season’s matchup featured a Longhorns squad that nearly upset the Tide with its backup quarterback, Hudson Card. Alabama won that matchup 20-19.

This game’s keys feature many of the same elements that made last year’s game close. Sound defensive play and opportunistic offensive chunk plays could pull Texas into this game.

Longhorns play callers Steve Sarkisian and Pete Kwiatkowski will be a factor in the game. Texas faithful can rest assured that both coaches will bring their highest level of ingenuity to pull off what would be a huge upset. Let’s look at how Texas can secure a victory.

Start fast offensively

Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Starting fast offensively doesn’t have to mean Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers hits an early downfield shot. He will likely need to convert a couple downfield passes to secure an upset, but Sarkisian might save those for an opportune time. Texas needs to get Ewers in a rhythm with an array of RPO attempts, screens and short passes to gain positive momentum.

Confuse and collapse on Milroe

Texas Longhorns defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski answer questions from the local news media during the first press conferences for the 2023 football season on August 1, 2023.
Texas Longhorns defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski answer questions from the local news media during the first press conferences for the 2023 football season on August 1, 2023.

Texas needs to turn up the heat on Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe and show him an assortment of looks he’s never seen. It all starts with sending chaos through the line of scrimmage and taking away quick reads.

Bring pressure up the middle

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Inside pressure is a “one size fits all” approach to stopping modern offenses. It’s perhaps the greatest schematic predictor of success for a defense. In addition, it’s also where Texas needs to ensure it prevents Milroe from escaping. Defensive tackles T’Vondre Sweat, Byron Murphy and Alfred Collins can not only hold their lanes, but bring pressure from the inside.

Build a lead and hold on

Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Texas finally has a defense that could allow it to build a lead with a first half script and hold that lead. We saw it against Kansas State last season, where Texas scored 31 of its 34 points in the first half. If the Longhorns are able to get a lead early, they have the team to attack and frustrate Alabama on Saturday.

Story originally appeared on Longhorns Wire