Texas Football: Winners and Losers from the Week 3 Game vs. Ole Miss
The Texas offense came alive in its 66-31 rough-up in Oxford Saturday night, and the Longhorns are off the schnide as far as production and early starts.
David Ash and a seemingly fluid offense scored 24 points in the first half, and with the help of a Steve Edmond pick-six on Ole Miss' second drive, Texas went into the half ahead 31-10.
Offensively, it was a brilliant game for a group that needed some sort of validation and confidence booster as it heads into Big 12 play following the bye week.
But despite all the positives from the win, there are still some concerns to be ironed out in the coming weeks.
In this week's edition of winners and losers, there are clearly more of the former than the latter. Let's take a look.
Winner: David Ash
In a display that surely impressed every Texas fan, David Ash recorded a career game for the Longhorns.
From the very onset of the game, Ash was in command of an offense that overpowered an Ole Miss defense.
In establishing the run game early, the Longhorns were able to begin taking some shots down the field, and Texas made no light work of those opportunities.
Ash threw four touchdowns on the night, including a couple that went for 46 yards to Mike Davis and another that went 55 yards to Marquise Goodwin. Ash finished with 326 yards passing and was 19-of-23.
This was the kind of performance that Texas needed its quarterback to have, and with the bye week coming up next for the Longhorns, the timing could not be better to harness even more improvement.
Ash looked comfortable and played with a sense of urgency to score on every possession.
Winner: Quandre Diggs
Mistakenly kept out of last week's edition of winners and losers, cornerback Quandre Diggs makes the roll this weekend, as he recorded two interceptions on the night.
After a great outing against New Mexico, where Diggs picked up an interception to go along with an explosive punt return, the sophomore was at it again in Oxford.
Diggs had limited errors, but all was virtually erased when he came back with a couple of picks later in the game.
Carrington Byndom was a huge go-to guy in the secondary last season, but it seems that Diggs may have overtaken the junior so far in 2012.
Winner: The Running Backs
Talk about imposing your will.
The Longhorns flat-out punished the Rebels on the ground, running rampant for 350 yards on 54 carries with four touchdowns.
It did not matter who was holding the ball. The blocks were strong and the carriers hit the holes with speed, power and tenacity.
Malcolm Brown led the way with 128 yards on 21 carries and two scores. Johnathan Gray racked up 50 yards on nine touches in the fourth quarter. Joe Bergeron bruised up an Ole Miss defense, running 11 times for 48 yards.
D.J. Monroe's lone touch of the night went 10 yards for a touchdown, making it three games in a row that he has scored.
The Longhorns took care of business on the ground, and more performances like this will pave the way for bigger successes on offense.
Winner: Mike Davis
Finally, the talented receiver that the Longhorns recruited in their 2009 class is coming to life.
Once burdened by a pessimistic teammate who has since moved on, Mike Davis has seemingly turned the corner in his performance on the field.
He is working hard to make catches and is holding his blocks strong in the running game.
This was the kind of game that the passing game needed, and Davis did well to throw his name into the mix as a legitimate option down the field.
The junior receiver hauled in five catches for 124 yards and a touchdown.
Winner: Marquise Goodwin
Marquise Goodwin flashed his Olympic speed on Saturday night, exploding for a huge 69-yard touchdown sweep early in the second quarter, igniting a Texas offense that did not let up all night.
In adding a couple of catches for 102 yards and a scoring grab, Goodwin re-established himself as a home-run hitter for the Longhorns.
With Davis stepping up his game and the continual antics from Jaxon Shipley, the Longhorns definitely have a formidable threesome at wide receiver.
Now, if the group can only put in this kind of performance every weekend..
Winner: Offensive Line
For the last few seasons, the Longhorns offensive line has lacked something extra in the trenches.
The mean streak that had evaded Texas for some time appears to be back. At least it looked that way against Ole Miss.
Texas' big boys looked dominant in creating holes and moving the lines of scrimmage in a physical win for the Longhorns.
The group helped pave the way for 676 yards of offense in an early-season test that looks to have confidence-boosting implications as the Longhorns enter Big 12 play in two weeks.
Loser: Jordan Hicks
Unfortunately for Jordan Hicks and the linebacker corps, the junior standout suffered a hip injury that could sideline him for some time.
It remains to be seen what kind of time line will be placed on Hicks, but the linebackers just took a huge shot to its depth and experience.
Manny Diaz has a challenge ahead of him in replacing such a serviceable playmaker on defense.
Loser: Texas' Tackling Coach
One of the biggest blemishes in Texas' 66-31 win over Ole Miss was the Longhorns' inability to tackle well.
We saw it against New Mexico, and we saw it again Saturday night against the Rebels. Poor positioning and poor tackling allowed a number of big plays for Ole Miss, and against more elite offenses, Texas would have been punished to a higher degree.
Momentum played into Texas' favor pretty much all night, but giving up huge plays against opponents like West Virginia could be critical in trying to protect leads and securing wins.
Loser: Nick Jordan
Different chapter, same story for Texas place-kicker Nick Jordan.
The freshman kicker converted 1-of-2 field goals Saturday, making one from 31 yards out and missing another from 37 yards.
Junior Anthony Fera cannot get healthy quickly enough for an aching kicking game that just has to be better.
Loser: D.J. Monroe
For all of the scoring that the offense produced Saturday night, D.J. Monroe got a crumb of the action.
The senior speedster received just one touch. Favorably, that one carry went 10 yards for a touchdown.
In a continued saga that dates back to last year, the call for Monroe to get more touches is still prevalent. Obviously, he would be happy with the win, but as lightning in a bottle, Monroe is capable of scoring multiple times a game.