MONDAY HUDDLE: Was loss to Alabama disappointing or sign of revival for Texas?

Texas linebacker Jaylan Ford (41) celebrates a sack against Alabama during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Rodolfo Gonzalez) (Rodolfo Gonzalez, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Huddle up! Here’s a look back at this weekend on the gridiron, with three key takeaways from the state’s football scene -- and a glimpse at what’s to come next week.

Longhorns fall just short against No. 1 Alabama, so what is next?

If Texas could’ve managed to hang on to a two-point lead late against No. 1 Alabama and shock the world by knocking off the gold standard of college football, there’s no debating what a springboard it would have provided to the Texas program in Steve Sarkisian’s second year.

But even in defeat, it can still be a great launching pad to future success for the Longhorns, providing three questions are answered positively.

One, what is Texas’ quarterback situation? Starter and highly-touted recruit Quinn Ewers left the game in the first quarter and is now out 4-to-6 weeks with a shoulder sprain. Backup Hudson Card did an admirable job, but he was slowed by an ankle injury suffered in the third quarter.

Texas is going to have figure out that position until Ewers returns in October.

Two, can the Texas defensive line continue to dominate? It was an impressive performance by the big guys up front for Texas against an Alabama team that usually features future NFL offensive lineman. Take away one 81-yard run by Alabama’s Jase McClellan, and Texas held Alabama to 80 yards rushing on 23 carries. If the defensive line for Texas can duplicate that performance consistently, it might not matter who the quarterback is.

Three, can Texas bring at least some of that intensity from the Alabama game to the rest of the season? Having two upcoming games against in-state opponents UTSA and Texas Tech should help, but in order for the Alabama game to be a springboard, Texas has to have similar motivation.

Are Cowboys already in trouble without Prescott?

If things could have gone any worse for the Dallas Cowboys in its season opener on Sunday night, it’s hard to imagine how.

In a 19-3 loss to to Tampa Bay, not only were the Cowboys held to their lowest point total in a season opener since 1989, but starting quarterback Dak Prescott sustained a fractured thumb.

Prescott is reportedly out for 6-to-8 weeks and now it’ll be up to backup Cooper Rush to keep the Cowboys afloat over the next couple of months.

The next five games for Dallas are against Cincinnati, the New York Giants, Washington, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

Worst fears realized for Aggies

No matter how talented or touted young players are, when that young team goes up against a veteran team full of fourth and fifth-year seniors that are at their peak physically and mentally, it can be trouble.

That’s what happened to Texas A&M in a crippling 17-14 loss at home to Appalachian State.

The Aggies saw Appalachian State hold the ball for 41:29 and outgain Texas A&M, 315-186.

Unfortunately, it was a terrible time for the young Aggies to learn a lesson.

Now with one loss, there is no room for error the rest of the season if the Aggies want to contend for a College Football Playoff spot. The meat of the schedule has arrived with games against No. 13 Miami and No. 10 Arkansas over the next two weeks.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.