In 1 excruciatingly forgettable night in T-Town, it all came undone.

All of it.

Jalen Milroe, the man many wanted so badly to believe in as the heir to Bryce Young, came apart.

The Alabama running game, which many wanted to believe was the offense’s savior in 2023, was never a threat.

The offensive line broke down, time and time again, with Texas sack after Texas sack — all 5 of them.

None of the wide receivers or tight ends was there to save the day, but, really, Milroe didn’t give them much of a shot.

And that was just the offense, just 1 half of Saturday night’s miserable state of affairs that spun out of control and turned into the Crimson Tide’s 1st home loss since the great Joe Burrow and LSU did the trick way back in 2019.

Since then, there has been a worldwide pandemic, 3 full college football seasons and 1 Alabama national championship, Nick Saban’s 6th in Tuscaloosa.

This morning, after a performance that sunk Bryant-Denny Stadium into a rare sea of misery, that elusive 7th national crown seems more elusive than ever.

This morning, it is The Morning After for a program and a fan base that’s used to celebrating victories well into the next morning, especially after prime-time home games like Saturday night’s. But instead of the usual prime-time pandemonium, the 3rd-ranked (soon to be lower) Tide got a prime-time punch from an 11th-ranked (sooner to be much higher) Texas team that was out for payback from a 1-point loss almost a year ago to the day in Austin, when Quinn Ewers was knocked out of the game by Dallas Turner after 1 quarter and Bama barely escaped.

On Saturday night, the bill from Sept. 10, 2022, came due.

Texas announced its return to the national landscape of college football, not to mention a big fat hello to an SEC it’ll be joining next fall.

Steve Sarkisian, Saban’s offensive coordinator during that pandemic-shortened national title run in 2020, beat his former boss and beat him good in the signature 34-24 triumph.

And Ewers got a chance to play all 4 quarters this time, and he left Kevin Steele’s defense in tatters, throwing for 349 yards and 3 touchdowns with 0 interceptions. Ewers was the maestro while Milroe made all the mistakes, the ones that reminded everyone of last year, the ones that Tide fans hoped and prayed were out of his system as he seemingly silenced the quarterback saga after a dominant performance in Week 1.

But the only things silent late Saturday were the things that are never silent after an Alabama home game — a stadium, a fan base, a city and a state (except for The Plains) that goes through nights like these, oh, about every lunar eclipse.

Soon, the silence will turn to screams and panic, and for a change it’ll be warranted.

Because this morning, The Morning After, everything is to be questioned about what we’ve come to expect over the past 15 years.

Player of the Week

Picking a Player of the Week from the wreckage is like trying to pick the least spoiled apple from a hefty bag of spoiled ones. You get what we’re saying here. Mostly everything wasn’t pretty at all as Alabama’s home winning streak ended at 21 and its standing atop the college football hierarchy went up in a cloud of burnt orange at Bryant-Denny. With that, we’ll give the Crimson Tide Player of the Week to Will Reichard, which is fitting because he’s been kicking for the Tide since the season of their last home loss before Saturday, although he wasn’t the kicker in that particular game against LSU.

You get the point, right? On Saturday, Reichard — who returned to T-Town for 1 more season hoping to be a part of greatness in 2023 — was just about the only thing that was great. He made all 3 of his field-goal attempts, including a 42-yarder early in the 2nd quarter that finally got the Tide on the scoreboard and tied the game at 3-3, and a 30-yarder at the end of the half that pulled Bama within 13-6. So Bama’s entire offense in the 1st half was on the foot of Reichard. He added a 51-yard boot early in the 3rd quarter that got the Tide closer at 13-9 before they actually took the lead — a very short-lived lead. Reichard added 1 extra point because the desperate Tide went for 2 on their final touchdown, and that was that. You can blame Saturday’s meltdown on a whole host of people, but Reichard isn’t one of them.

Freshman of the Week

Again, it’s hard to be cheery about anyone on the roster after a night like that, but for the 2nd straight Saturday night it was 5-star strong safety Caleb Downs who lit up the stat sheet, albeit as the defense was getting shredded by Ewers and Co. Still, Downs tied Trezmen Marshall for the team lead in total tackles with 10 and solo tackles with 5, and there’s something to be said for a guy playing his 2nd career collegiate game to still put up glossy numbers on a night when nothing was going right for the unit he was playing on.

Downs stayed with it as the roof was caving in. He didn’t quit. He kept playing. On a night to forget, that’s something to not be ignored.

Biggest surprise

Besides Alabama losing at home, you mean? Well, how about the supposedly vaunted running game which got all the preseason headlines, led by Jase McClellan, who was named to the Maxwell Award preseason watch list. It’s for nights like these when Alabama’s defense wasn’t very good (to be kind) and Alabama’s successor to Young (whoever it was going to be) wasn’t very good (to be kind) that a guy like McClellan was supposed to save the Tide. He was supposed to be the guy who settled them down, who gave the offense an identity and a way to escape defeat.

Instead, McClellan managed a paltry 45 yards on 12 carries, with 15 of those yards coming on 1 carry. That means he gained a whopping 30 yards the other 11 times he was handed the football, which is simply unacceptable. This isn’t what he or anyone expected, and it happened on the worst night imaginable. But he wasn’t the only backfield culprit. Fellow senior Roydell Williams was a total nonfactor with 6 carries for 12 yards, while sophomore Jam Miller had 2 carries for 6 yards. The highly touted freshmen duo of Justice Haynes and Richard Young didn’t get a carry, not a total shock as the Tide were playing from behind all night. A solid running attack like the one we all expected might not have bailed out Bama, but it certainly would’ve kept the Texas aerial show off the field for a lot longer.

Biggest concern

I mean, where do we begin? How can we pick just 1 thing? We could pick, like, 17 things to be concerned about after Alabama’s world came crashing down. But if pinned down, if forced to pick just 1 thing, it’s got to be Milroe. It’s too bad, too, because the guy had such a nice Week 1 showing — albeit against Middle Tennessee — that you wanted him to continue succeeding and showing that there was indeed someone who could take Young’s place, even if he couldn’t be Young. Then Saturday happened, and all those Milroe miscues that we saw in limited action in 2022 came to the surface, including a crushing interception early in the 4th quarter that allowed the Longhorns to add to the 20-16 lead they had just taken.

Jerrin Thompson returned the pick to the Bama 5, and 1 play later Jonathon Brooks was in the end zone, it was 27-16, and the hill the Tide were trying to climb for most of the night looked a whole lot steeper. The most concerning thing about the whole Milroe mess is you hoped that — after he replaced the injured Young last year and showed he could win games even through the errors — he was ready for a big stage like Saturday. He flexed his muscles (literally) in the Week 1 rout and seemed like this could be his collegiate launching point. And then we saw what we saw, which throws everything into question for the rest of the season, including if Tyler Buchner and/or Ty Simpson are actually going to get a serious look.

Developing trend

OK, we could ignore Turner’s miniscule production (2 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss in Week 1) for 1 game, since it was a blowout, playing time was spread out and, well, it really didn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. But on Saturday night, Turner’s paltry production became a developing trend. On a night when the guy who boasted in the preseason that he was already the best player in the SEC should have had his post-Will Anderson Jr. coming-out party, Turner managed just 3 total tackles, including only 1 solo. No tackles for loss. No sacks.

No havoc caused in the Horns’ backfield, which allowed Texas to roll up 454 total yards as Ewers got his payback on Turner almost exactly 1 year later.

Key stat

Again, we could pick out like 10 stats, and all 10 of them would be bad. But 1 number definitely sticks out. It’s the penalties. Yep, they were back. After an offseason when Steele preached discipline, aka keeping the penalties that persisted in 2022 to a minimum, the Tide committed a whopping 10 penalties for 90 yards. This was hardly the only reason Bama lost; it was just 1 in a list of them. But it was a reoccurrence of a problem that really started last year in Week 2 in Austin, when the Tide had a jaw-dropping 15 penalties against the same Horns. Last year, they won despite the flurry of flags. This year, they weren’t as fortunate.

First impression about Week 3

Look, it’s going to be quite a hangover in T-Town, especially for the fan base. But when the dust settles on Saturday night’s loss — and there’s a whole attic’s worth of dust — there is another game to play. Actually, there are 10 more regular-season games to play, and the total optimist amid the agony will remind you that this loss was a nonconference defeat (it wouldn’t have been next year) and that Bama can still win the SEC West and wind up in Atlanta in early December.

With that, next Saturday afternoon comes 1 more nonconference battle at South Florida before Ole Miss comes to Tuscaloosa the following week. Not much is expected of the 2023 version of USF, and not much can be gathered from the Bulls’ 1-1 start after a season-opening loss at Western Kentucky and a Week 2 victory over Florida A&M in their home opener. One name to watch for with USF is its head coach — it’s Alex Golesh, who’s in his 1st season in Tampa after 2 years as the offensive coordinator at Tennessee, where he helped the Vols become 1 of the most potent offenses in the country. He doesn’t have that talent in Tampa (yet), of course, but his Vols offense did hang 52 points on Saban last year in that thriller in Knoxville. As if Alabama’s beleaguered defense (and team) didn’t have enough motivation after Saturday night’s loss.