Ole Miss might be onto something, and the Texas Longhorns have some serious soul-searching to do this week.
The road is never easy in the Southeastern Conference, but the Rebels don’t have a cakewalk lined up before they begin conference play against Alabama in Week 4. Despite being shredded by BYU last week, Texas has a potent offense that will provide a good early test to see just how far the Rebels have come this year.
For the Longhorns, this is a great opportunity to regain confidence before starting Big 12 play next week. There’s no way they can attempt to contend for a conference title if they drop a second game in a row before kicking off their efforts.
So, this game may not have national title implications, but it couldn’t be bigger for either of these two teams. Let’s take a look at some essential information, top storylines and a prediction for the matchup.
When: Saturday, September 14 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, Texas
TV Coverage: Longhorn Network
Betting Line (per Covers): Over/Under: 65.5; Spread: Texas (-2.5)
Out: WR Korvic Neat (knee), LB Denzel Nkemdiche (knee), OL Aaron Morris (knee—out for season), CB Charles Sawyer (disciplinary), TE Christian Morgan (knee)
Out: WR/RB Daje Johnson (ankle), QB David Ash (head/shoulder)
Questionable: WR Bryant Jackson (ankle), S Kevin Vaccaro (ankle), TE Miles Onyegbule (leg), LB Deoundrei Davis (knee), LB Demarco Cobbs (knee)
Mack Brown had the Texas Longhorns rolling and bustling with anticipation heading into Week 2 against BYU. The Cougars didn’t seem to care about any of that and racked up video game numbers on the ground en route to an upset of the 15th-ranked Longhorns.
Following BYU’s 550-yard rushing performance in Provo, Mack fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com originally reported the news:
http://t.co/TuILYGfSJV has learned Mack Brown fired Manny Diaz as defensive coordinator, one day after Texas gave up 550 yds rushing to BYU.— Chip Brown (@ChipBrownOB) September 8, 2013
Most of BYU’s big day came on the ground by quarterback Taysom Hill. Unfortunately for Texas, the Rebels boast two capable rushing quarterbacks in Bo Wallace and Barry Brunetti. Keying on Brunetti when in the game, the Rebels’ primary read-option rushing threat, looks like the biggest key to the game for the Longhorns and the best chance for Ole Miss to steal a win in Austin.
It’s unwise to predict doom-and-gloom for every college football team that drops an early contest. That’s especially true when that loss happens on the road and that team is returning home with a chip on its shoulders–a huge chip in Texas’ case after their utter embarrassment last week.
Make your prediction:
But other times, it’s justifiable to have concerns. The Longhorns are one of those teams that are in position for another disappointment early on in 2013. Their inability to win at the line of scrimmage against BYU doesn’t bode well for their chances against their big SEC opponents this week.
Still, the Longhorns should be able to make this game close. Look for Case McCoy to fill in well for David Ash, but his inexperience will hurt in the end. Losing Daje Johnson hurts as well. The talented athlete was a veritable home run threat in the pass and run games.
In the end, the Rebels answer a lot of questions this year by out-dueling the Texans on the road thanks to a well-rounded attack championed by a late touchdown pass by Wallace for the win.
Final Score: Ole Miss 35, Texas 32