The University of Texas Longhorns (1-1) are returning home to play the Ole Miss Rebels (2-0) at Darrell K Royal Stadium Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, TX at 7:00 pm CST. The drama of this game will not match that which has led to this game.
After an embarrassing effort by the Longhorns’ defense against the BYU Cougars last week, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was relieved of his duties. The Cougars manhandled the Longhorns defense by gaining 679 total yards. The Cougars’ sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill rushed for 259 yards and sophomore running back Jamaal Williams rushed for 183 yards.
Texas head coach Mack Brown came into the season already on a very hot seat. Not making it to a Bowl Championship Series game would be considered an unsuccessful year to the Longhorns faithful fans. Another loss by the Longhorns will not sit well with the Texas’ fans before they open up Big 12 conference play next week.
The Longhorns defeated the Rebels 66-31 last season in Oxford, Miss. However after the loss to the Cougars there was some concern about the availability of starting quarterback David Ash. Ash will be a game time decision. If Ash is not able to start, Case McCoy will lead the Longhorns. In the game last season, Texas was able to have their way with the Ole Miss defense compiling 676 total yards.
The Rebels return this season with one of the best college recruiting classes in the country. Most of those incoming freshmen are already having a major impact on the team. Robert Knemdiche at defensive end has 7 tackles in two games and Tony Conner has an interception thru two games. There has also been three freshmen that has an impact wide receiver Laquon Treadwell tight end Evan Engram has racked up respectable receiving yards.
The key to the Rebels having a good chance to win this game will fall clearing on the shoulders of quarterback Bo Wallace. Wallace only played in a quarter and a half in the Rebels’ 31-17 victory last week over Southeast Missouri.
The Longhorns will have to rely on their running game in order to keep their defensive unit off of the field. The defense lost a few key members to the National Football League. Texas has been ranked near the top of the nation in recruiting classes over the past ten years, but those rankings has not led to realization on the field. The Longhorns major weakness over the past few years has been at the quarterback position. Just when Ash was solidifying his position, he suffered a setback during the BYU game with a injury.
In the game last year against the Rebels, the Longhorns’ wide receivers were able to get past the Rebels’ defensive backs. Wide receiver Mike Davis is back for the Longhorns and he was the leading receiver in last year’s game with 124 receiving yards and one touchdown. Davis will have to another quality performance for the Longhorns this year.
ON TV: The game can be seen on the Longhorns Network (WREG News Channel 3 in Memphis and Oxford).
AFTER THIS WEEKEND: The Longhorns will host the Kansas State Wildcats in their Big 12 opener next week. The Rebels will have an off week before traveling to face the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Terry Davis covers the Ole Miss Rebels for MemphiSport. Follow him @terryd515.