Texas vs. Ole Miss: Latest Spread Info, BCS Impact and Predictions

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Texas vs. Ole Miss: Latest Spread Info, BCS Impact and Predictions
Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE

The Texas Longhorns and Mississippi Rebels opened their schedules with home games against a pair of opponents that aren't exactly threats against major conference teams. They each put a 2-0 record on the table on Saturday, but there is a little more at stake for Texas as it looks to build on a lackluster 2011 season.

This is the first time these two schools have met on the gridiron since 1966.

The Rebels are also in a building mode, but newly hired head coach Hugh Freeze will have a few seasons to show he's capable of turning the program around. He was the head coach at Arkansas State last season, but was perhaps best known as Michael Oher's high school coach.

This game could come down to a pair of sophomore quarterbacks. Bo Wallace will have the advantage of playing at home, but he carries the weight of performing on the ground and through the air.

David Ash played well in his first two games leading the Longhorns, but he didn't meet much resistance.

 

When: Saturday, September 15 at 9:15 p.m. ET

Where: The Grove: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss.
 

Watch: ESPN

 

Spread: Texas -10

Bovada has the Longhorns as a 10-point favorite on the road. This will be the first real test of Texas this season, but the Longhorns should be up for the challenge.

Ole Miss was 2-10 last season with their only wins coming from outside the SEC. They gave up 52 points against both Alabama and LSU, but stayed close to Arkansas, losing 29-24.

Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE

The biggest sign of concern for Ole Miss was a 30-7 drubbing at Vanderbilt. 

But this is a different season and Ole Miss opened the season with wins over Central Arkansas and UTEP. They have more talent on the team, but are also fielding a very young squad.

The fans will still show up and try to help the Rebels keep this close. Texas will have too much firepower and will start the season at 3-0.

 

Over/Under: 47.5

Simple math shows the oddsmakers are predicting a final score of 29-19.

Ole Miss runs an attacking defense but they are prone to mistakes. They gave up 20 first-half points to Central Arkansas and Texas shouldn't have any trouble matching that production.

Unless the Rebels struggle to put points on the board, there won't be a reason for Texas to take its foot off the gas. This game should favor the over.

 

Injury Report (via USA Today)

Texas

Pos.

Injury

Status/Updated

Notes

Anthony Fera

PK

Groin

Questionable

Missed the first two games

Mississippi

Pos.

Injury

Status/Updated

Notes

Gerald Rivers

DE

Eligibility

Questionable

Eligibility remains questionable

Trae Elston

DB

Suspension

Out

One game suspension

D.T. Shackelford

LB

Knee

Out

Will miss season with nagging knee injury

 

BCS Implications

Ole Miss could make a run at being bowl-eligible in 2012, but they don't figure to make a case for an upper-level bowl game. They have three Top 10 opponents and a difficult SEC schedule ahead of them.

Texas struggled through its Big 12 schedule last season. It finished with a 4-5 conference record, which was an improvement from its 2-6 mark in 2010.

A road win against an SEC opponent will be a good boost for a team that could be back in the hunt for a Big 12 title. It won't matter in the Big 12 standings, but it will be a factor in determining the Longhorns' bowl placement.

 

Keys for Texas

David Ash needs to step up and take control of Texas' offense. He played well in periodic play last season and posted gaudy numbers in a 45-0 thrashing of New Mexico last week.

Ash is only averaging 7.7 yards per pass, however, after posting a mark of 6.2 last season. The current average isn't bad, but considering the opponents, it leaves a bit to be desired.

Ash has produced using a short passing game, but he'll need to air the ball out to have success against Mississippi.

The Rebel defenders play tight defense, but will be prone to giving up big plays this season. Ash needs to feel comfortable looking downfield to take advantage of opportunities that will inevitably be there.

Some of those openings will be left by starting defensive back Trae Elston. He will be serving a one-game suspension for a flagrant act hit on UTEP receiver Jordan Leslie last weekend.

 

Keys for Ole Miss

Trae Elston's "flagrant act" against UTEP

The Rebels will look to Wallace, their first-year starter at quarterback, to move the ball and keep up with Texas on the scoreboard. He's thrown for 438 yards in the first two games, showing efficiency while completing 35 of 46 passes. He's also added 135 yards on the ground with two more touchdowns.

Freeze spoke about his expectations against Texas in an ESPN.com summary.

We're very excited about this week. We have one of the nation's best teams coming into Oxford ... but at the same time it's a great opportunity. It's going to be a great environment.

Our young kids will hopefully be very excited. The young kids will hopefully show up not too anxious or emotional and play sound football and give us a chance to compete in it.

One of those younger players is sophomore Donte Moncrief. He's the Rebels' leading receiver with 11 catches for 176 yards. He has caught two of Wallace's five touchdown passes.

 

Prediction

As mentioned above, Texas should leave Mississippi with a win. Texas will also cover the point spread against an improved Ole Miss team that needs time for their young talent to mature.

This non-conference win will give Texas a momentum boost headed into a bye week and then a visit to Oklahoma State.

 

Score: Texas 34, Ole Miss 20

 

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