Texas wins the Alamo Bowl, defeating Colorado to the score of 55-23. This was an electrifying game to watch that featured six quarterbacks that were given minutes. This victory was Texas’ 31st bowl victory and their fourth bowl win in the last four years. Colorado’s bowl loss is their fourth straight. The Buffaloes’ last bowl victory came in 2004; 16 years ago.
Texas Wins Alamo Bowl
The Longhorns were short on experience for this bowl, making their win that much more impressive. Texas had six of their key players opt out of the Alamo bowl. The players include left tackle Samuel Cosmi, defensive end Joseph Ossai, safety Caden Sterns, defensive tackle Ta’Quon Graham, safety Chris Brown, and receiver Brennan Eagles. All of these players have opted out to focus on the NFL Draft. They were also without center Derek Kerstetter due to injury. Sam Ehlinger would be the only remaining captain left for the Longhorns on Tuesday after injury and opt-outs. Nevertheless, the Longhorns still found a way to be dominant and offer continuous production on both sides of the ball.
Texas would be the first team to break the tie following an eight-yard touchdown run by Bijan Robinson. The Longhorns would take a 7-0 lead with just over two minutes gone in the first quarter. Texas’ next touchdown drive would be dominated by Robinson once again. He had a 50-yard rush that would eventually set up a 14-yard touchdown catch. Ehlinger would find Robinson on a screen play that would give the Longhorns a 14-0 lead with 10 minutes gone in the first quarter.
Eventually, Colorado would find the endzone after a Jarek Broussard two-yard touchdown rush with just under seven minutes remaining in the first half. This drive also featured freshman Brendon Lewis at quarterback instead of starter Sam Noyer. Texas would finally get on the board again after a quarter-long draught, following a 53-yard field goal by Cameron Dicker. This drive would be set up by two 30+ yard completions by Ehlinger. Noyer made a reappearance on Colorado’s final drive of the first half. He put together an eight-play, 53-yard drive that resulted in a 40-yard field goal by Evan Price. Texas would have the 17-10 lead heading into the break.
The main headline to open the second half was that Ehlinger would sit the remainder of the game with a shoulder injury. Casey Thompson would be his replacement and he started hot to say the least. Texas opened the second half, as well as any team, could. The drive started with a 66-yard rush by Robinson, which would be followed up by a 13-yard touchdown pass from Thompson to Joshua Moore. The Longhorns would extend their lead to 14 points with just 37 seconds gone in the second half. But the sophomore quarterback had a little bit of swagger to him in his first start. Tom Herman was giving Thompson every opportunity to hit the deep ball and he finally connected. Thompson would go on to complete another touchdown pass to Moore, this one for 25-yards. Texas would later get a Dicker field goal on a drive that was marked by two 20+ yard runs. This field goal would extend the Longhorn’s lead to 34-10.
Broussard would find the endzone once again on Colorado’s next drive. This three-yard touchdown run would reduce Colorado’s deficit to 18 points following a failed two-point conversion. Texas would immediately follow with a score of their own, almost as if they were jealous that Colorado had scored. Thompson would connect with Robinson for a 23-yard touchdown pass-and-catch. Colorado would score yet again after a Lewis two-yard touchdown run. But quickly enough, Texas would respond with seven points after a 73-yard Kelvontay Dixon touchdown catch. This would increase Texas’ lead to 48-23. But Texas refused to stop scoring. Roschon Johnson would find the endzone after an insane 21-yard touchdown run that increased Texas’ lead to 32 points. This would be the final score from either team.
What Worked for Texas
Texas absolutely shredded the Buffaloes defense. However, Colorado seemed to have Texas’ number in the first two quarters. The Longhorns only scored 17 points in the first half compared to Colorado’s ten. Colorado was in the game by all accounts at halftime. However, UT found their groove with Thompson at quarterback. He completed 8 of his 10 passes for 170 yards and four touchdowns in just over a quarter of play. Also, Robinson played out of his mind the entire game. He rushed for a crazy 183 yards on only ten rushing attempts to go along with one rushing score. Robinson also had two catches for 37 yards and two receiving scores.
UT’s defense also performed well all game. They allowed only 196 passing yards and 182 rushing yards for the game. The Longhorns also only allowed three touchdowns the entire game. Most importantly, they forced three turnovers for the game, including two first-quarter interceptions.
What Went Wrong for Colorado
The biggest issue for Colorado was that they could not stop a Thompson led Longhorn team. The Buffaloes seemed to have Ehlinger in check as he only completed 10 of his 15 passes for 160 yards and one touchdown pass. Colorado also held Ehlinger to -5 rushing yards.
The issue was that Thompson ate them alive in the second half. The Buffaloes had a game plan for Ehlinger and did not expect a first-time starter to play well. Oh, and Robinson had an insane game as well. Also, Noyer did not play well enough to win Colorado the game. He completed 8 of his 23 passes for 101 yards and two interceptions. However, the diamond in the rough for Colorado was the play of Lewis. He completed 6 of his 10 passes for 95 yards. He also had 73 rushing yards on nine carries and one rushing score.
Alamo Bowl MVP’s
The first MVP is unquestionably Texas’ Robinson. His stats speak for themselves. He averaged 18.3 yards/attempt and opened up every aspect of the Longhorn offense. His three total touchdowns earn him the MVP.
The other MVP has to go to Thompson. He stepped in for Ehlinger and no one could have expected how well he would play. He set an Alamo Bowl record with four passing touchdowns and completely willed Texas to this win. The first half was close, but Thompson blew the game wide open in one quarter. He is much deserving of the second MVP.