Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Texas defense falters against Ole Miss

The SportsXchange

AUSTIN, Texas -- No. 25 Ole Miss showed Texas that changing defensive coordinators in the middle of the season doesn't change everything.

The Rebels used a dominating second half to turn a halftime deficit into a 44-23 victory on Saturday night at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

Texas, which replaced defensive coordinator Manny Diaz with Greg Robinson this week after an embarrassing 41-21 loss to BYU, was hoping a new coordinator meant the start of a different era -- a better era.

Ole Miss (3-0) made sure Texas' new era began like the old one ended.

Trailing 23-17 at halftime, the Rebels outscored the Longhorns 27-0 in the final two quarters.

"This win means something here," Ole Miss defensive back Mike Hilton said. "We came in with the mindset like, 'This is our win, we got to get it,' because what happened last year (a 66-31 Texas win); that was just embarrassing. With the right mindset, we knew we could win."

Like BYU, the Rebels did it via the running game.

Ole Miss piled up 272 yards on the ground, including 159 in the second half.

"They started running the ball. They ran the same play over and over again," Texas linebacker Jordan Hicks said of the Rebels' offense. "It was pretty disappointing."

It was pretty dominant.

"We stopped the run," Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said of the difference between the first half and the second half. "We actually came in and made one change and tried to stay with them. They were hitting the zone on us and bouncing it out the back, and we were able to pursue a little bit so we started bringing a guy down weak side away from the backs and linemen."

The Rebels also were able to run the football.

Ole Miss began the second half with a 12-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 15-yard touchdown run by quarterback Bo Wallace, who had 234 total yards of offense. That gave the Rebels a 24-23 lead.

After a three-and-out, the Rebels proceeded to go on another methodical drive that lasted 11 plays and ended with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Wallace to Evan Engram.

It took four more plays for Ole Miss to increase its lead. The defense, which produced nine tackles behind the line of scrimmage, forced another punt after three plays.

For some reason, Texas (1-2) decided to punt to Jeff Scott. Scott, who also piled up a career-high 163 yards rushing, slipped past a couple of would-be tacklers and turned on the speed down the sideline for a 73-yard return and a 37-23 lead.

With Ole Miss dominating the Longhorns on the ground, everybody knew the game was over.

"Defensively, I understand," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "We played hard and we played better. But we didn't have much with three days with Greg (Robinson). You've got to stop the run to win football games. We didn't run the ball and we didn't stop the run. You can't win like that."

It looked like the Longhorns had no shot from the opening kickoff.

The Rebels jumped out to a 14-0 lead by running over and around the Texas defense, averaging 8.3 yards per play on their first two possessions.

Scott rumbled into the end zone from 5 yards for the Rebels' first touchdown. On Ole Miss' second drive, Wallace hit a wide-open Donte Moncrief from 18 yards for a 14-0 lead.

The game was less than seven minutes old. It appeared the rout was on.

After giving up 40 points and a school-record 550 rushing yards a week ago in a loss to BYU, many were thinking the Longhorns would fold.

They did the opposite.

Texas responded with 23 straight points thanks to a combination of screen passes and running back Johnathan Gray.

Quarterback Case McCoy, filling in for injured David Ash, led the Longhorns on a nine-play, 78-yard drive that ended with a 13-yard bubble screen to Mike Davis to cut the Ole Miss lead to 14-7.

That turned the momentum in Texas' favor as McCoy completed 11 of 13 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown in a surprisingly efficient first half.

An Anthony Fera field goal pulled the Longhorns to within four. And after another stop, Gray, who finished the game with 91 rushing yards, went to work.

The sophomore running back carried the ball four times for 33 yards on the ensuing drive, including an 8-yard touchdown run that gave Texas a 17-14 lead.

Two more field goals helped the Longhorns head to the locker room with a 23-14 lead. But it could have been more.

The Longhorns had a first-and-goal from the Ole Miss 2 but had to settle for a field goal thanks to two false-start penalties.

They also left time on the clock and allowed the Rebels a field goal on the final play of first half, which cut Texas' lead to 23-17.

"You can't give up points like that to end the half," Brown said. "That gave them the momentum going into half, and we never got it back."

That was obvious.

The Rebels adjusted at halftime. The Longhorns didn't.

It shows how far the Rebels program has come.

"We're better than we were when I got here," Freeze said. "We've won five games in a row right now. Our kids have some confidence, but we still make a lot of mistakes. We just took one step, but it is a step in the right direction."

NOTES: Ash didn't just miss the game, he wasn't even at the stadium. Texas doctors told the quarterback to stay home to help him recover from a head injury. ... When Texas forced a three-and-out with 2:01 left in the first quarter, it was just the third time the Longhorns had prevented an opponent from scoring in their past 17 possessions. ... Fera made three field goals in the first half after not having one attempt through the first two games of the season.

Win cash prizes, pick a fantasy roster for just one day, join in minutes!

Learn how to play

Contest Entries Entry Fee Prizes Starts (EDT)
NFL $350K Baller [$50K to 1st] 1914/39773 $10 $350000 Sunday 1:00 PM Enter
NBA $15K Tournament [$2K to 1st] 891/3410 $5 $15000 Today 7:00 PM Enter
NBA $10K Tournament [$1K to 1st] 115/454 $25 $10000 Today 7:00 PM Enter
View Comments (11)