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Texas Players Reflect on the Memorable Experience of Saban’s Final Loss at Bryant-Denny



The echoes of “Let’s go Texas” and the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” reverberated in a corner of Bryant-Denny Stadium, horns raised amidst the burnt orange haze. Alabama and Texas, in their burgeoning Southeastern Conference rivalry, exchanged home losses, with Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns inadvertently making history.

The 10-point defeat marked Saban’s most significant loss, statistically, within Bryant-Denny Stadium and one of two setbacks in his final season coaching at Alabama. September 9, 2023, became a memorable date in Austin, representing Saban’s last home defeat.

Reflecting on the historic victory during the NFL scouting combine, tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders expressed the significance of achieving something unparalleled in two decades. Sanders, leading the Longhorns with five catches and 114 yards, played a pivotal role in the 34-24 triumph. Quinn Ewers, Adonai Mitchell, and Xavier Worthy executed Sarkisian’s game plan, exploiting the secondary and neutralizing Alabama’s pass rush.

Despite Alabama’s offense seeking consistency, it faltered, with Jalen Milroe throwing two interceptions before rebounding later in the season. Facing a formidable pass rush from T’Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy, Milroe, a hometown player, struggled. Wide receiver Jordan Whittington described the win as seeking “redemption” from a 2022 loss at DKR Stadium.

For Murphy, beating Alabama and Nick Saban held significant meaning, considering the rarity of such victories in Tuscaloosa. The win, against the backdrop of Alabama’s challenging home turf, became a cherished moment.

Sarkisian, a former Saban assistant, was rumored as a potential replacement for Saban. Negotiating with mega-agent Jimmy Sexton, who represented Saban and eventual hire Kalen DeBoer, Sarkisian secured a contract extension, solidifying his position as one of the highest-paid coaches in the game.

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