Texas was able to earn a crucial first loss in the third quarter of the game against No. 3 Alabama due to a technicality within the NCAA rule book.
Leading 13-9, the No. 11 Longhorns attempted a quarterback sneak on fourth-and-1 with less than four minutes left in the third quarter. But quarterback Quinn Ewers never gained possession of the ball after it was broken. Running back Jonathan Brooks then had the wherewithal to pick the ball off the ground and run for a three-yard gain and a first down.
Under college football rules, a fumble on fourth down cannot be called in by any other offensive player other than the player who fumbled the football. But Texas was able to keep the first down because, after a replay review, the officials ruled that Ewers never had possession of the ball after the snap.
The original decision on the field was Alabama’s ball. But since Ewers didn’t actually hold the snap, it officially counted as a muffed snap and any Texas player was eligible to advance the ball.
However, the conversion ultimately meant nothing. Texas didn’t get another first down on the drive and Brooks was stopped a foot short of the line to make a gain on Texas’ next fourth down attempt. Alabama then connected on a TD pass from Jalen Milroe to Jermaine Burton to take the lead.