The 1964 Alabama squad finished the regular season as both SEC and national champions with a record of 10–0. During the Iron Bowl, Alabama accepted a bid to play in the Orange Bowl from bowl officials. The appearance marked the fourth for Alabama in the Orange Bowl, and their 18th overall bowl appearance. With USC upsetting Notre Dame 20–17 on the final weekend of the season, Alabama was selected as the 1964 national champions by both the AP and UPI prior to the bowl game.
Opening the season as defending national champions, the Longhorns finished the regular season with a record of 9–1. Only a 14–13 loss against Arkansas in week five kept the Longhorns from repeating as National Champions.
After the defense stopped Alabama at the one-yard line on fourth down, Texas responded quickly with the first score of the evening. After moving the ball 20 yards, Longhorn running back Ernie Koy took the ball 79-yards for a 7–0 Texas lead with only :23 remaining in the first quarter. Texas extended their lead to 14–0 on their next offensive possession when George Sauer caught a 69-yard touchdown reception from Jim Hudson. Alabama cut the lead in half later in the second quarter when Joe Namath hit Wayne Trimble for a 7-yard touchdown reception. On the following possession, Alabama blocked a 35-yard David Conway field goal attempt, recovered the ball, but fumbled it on the return, which Texas recovered. Ernie Koy capped the ensuing 38-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run to give the Longhorns a 21–7 halftime lead. Alabama was unable to take the lead in only scoring ten second half points. The first came on a 20-yard Ray Perkins touchdown reception from Namath and the second on a 26-yard Dave Ray field goal. Although on the losing side, Alabama quarterback Joe Namath was selected as the games Most Valuable Player for completing 18 of 37 passes for 255 yards and a pair of touchdowns.