No. 25 Ole Miss unloads on struggling Texas
AUSTIN, Texas -- Mississippi found a running play that worked against Texas, and just like BYU a week earlier, kept running it again and again.
The Longhorns couldn't stop Jeff Scott from blistering them on the speed option to the outside and No. 25 Ole Miss rolled over reeling Texas 44-23 on Saturday night.
Scott ran for 164 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries and also scored on a 73-yard punt return. Bo Wallace passed for two touchdowns and ran for another and the Rebels' defense dominated the second half.
"It's so sweet," Wallace said. "I was telling those guys ... they put up 66 on us (last year). I was wanting to score that many if we could."
And for Mississippi, a road win at a historical powerhouse such as Texas will be another confidence boost under second-year coach Hugh Freeze. The Rebels are ranked for the first time since 2009, are 3-0 for the first time since 1989 and have a week off before playing at No. 1 Alabama.
"To come in and stand toe-to-toe with them, I do think nationally it's going to help us in recruiting. It's a step in the right direction but it's only one step. We didn't take six tonight, we just took one," Freeze said.
After taking a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, the Rebels trailed 23-17 at halftime as Texas quarterback Case McCoy picked them apart with a short passing game and Anthony Fera kicked three field goals.
Mississippi responded by holding Texas to 100 total yards in the second half and dominating the Longhorns with a tough running game that pounded out 274 yards on the ground.
Scott scored Ole Miss' first touchdown and then provided the dagger at the end of the third quarter with a weaving, cross-field punt return where he eluded six tacklers before picking up a wall of blockers. The touchdown put the Rebels ahead 37-23.
For Texas, the loss will turn up the heat on coach Mack Brown, who is facing the most serious grumbling from a restless fan base in his 16 seasons in Austin.
After three sub-par seasons, the Longhorns had hopes of contending for the Big 12 title and returning to the national stage, but an embarrassing loss a week ago at BYU led Brown to fire defensive coordinator Manny Diaz after Texas gave up a school-record 550 yards rushing.
Brown brought back Greg Robinson, the Longhorns' defensive coordinator in 2004. Texas was more aggressive against the Rebels, but still couldn't stop the run and surrendered a halftime lead when it looked as if the Longhorns were firmly in control.
Texas simply couldn't corral the shifty Scott and stop from getting to the edge and turning upfield.
"They were running the same play over and over," Texas linebacker Jordan Hicks said.
Brown said he didn't expect much from his defense after giving Robinson just six days to prepare and said the unit played better. McCoy started in place of injured David Ash and passed for 196 yards and one touchdown to Mike Davis.
Mississippi is just the latest visiting team to wallop Texas on its home turf. The Longhorns are 11-10 at home since 2010, including seven consecutive losses to ranked opponents.
At one point in the first quarter some in the crowd of 101,404, the third largest in school history booed a pre-recorded video message played on the stadium scoreboard.
Asked what he would say to Texas fans, Brown responded: "Keep coming. Let's beat Kansas State (next week). Forget the coaches, come for the kids."
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