Coming off a difficult blowout loss that dropped them for the Top 25 rankings, the Texas Longhorns will play host to No. 25 Ole Miss on Saturday at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, hoping to regain some traction for the rest of the season.
Fifteen-year Longhorns head coach Mack Brown heard plenty of calls for his job after his team traveled to Provo and suffered a 40-21 loss to BYU. Texas gave up 679 total yards to the Cougars, the bulk coming from 550 yards on the ground.
Junior David Ash went 19-for-34 for 251 yards and two touchdowns to receiver Mike Davis, but the Texas offense sputtered on third down, going 5-for-17 on the pivotal down. Ash left in the fourth quarter after a rough hit, and will reportedly miss Saturday’s game due to injuries to his head and throwing shoulder. Senior Case McCoy is expected to start.
But it was the Longhorn defense that faced most of the ire from fans and the media, with defensive coordinator Manny Diaz dismissed quickly after the game. Brown later rehired Greg Robinson, who was the Longhorn coordinator back in 2004. He’ll take over a talented squad, headlined by junior defensive end Cedric Reed and junior linebacker Jordan Hicks, who leads the team with 25 total tackles.
In order to turn things around, Texas will have to corral a tested Running Rebels squad with lots of weapons and balance on the offensive end.
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Ole Miss is averaging 239 rushing yards a game with the help of running backs Jeff Scott and Barry Brunetti. The pair have combined for 281 yards and four touchdowns, complementing quarterback Bo Wallace’s completion percentage of 62.9.
Wallace’s main targets are freshman Evan Engram and junior Donte Moncrief, who’ve totaled 14 receptions for 261 yards and two scores. Freshman receiver Laquon Treadwell also leads the Rebels with 11 catches for 109 yards.
In their 31-13 victory over Southeastern Missouri last week, Wallace hit Engram for a 64-yard bomb, then Moncrief for a 67-yard score, and sat for the second half.
The game kicks-off at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast by the Longhorn Network, or watch their live online here.
Betting Odds: Texas is favored by 3 points.
Over/Under: 66 points
Prediction: Texas 27, Ole Miss 20