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Week 3 - Ole Miss at Texas
Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell
Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell
Posted Sep 11, 2013

Week 3 Fearless Prediction & Preview - Ole Miss at Texas

Ole Miss (2-0) at Texas (1-1) Sept. 14, 12:00, Longhorn

Why You Should Give A Hoot: One bad football game later, and all of a sudden, the world is a different place.

Texas wasn’t supposed to have any problems with BYU. The Cougars couldn’t get anything going against Virginia the week before in a loss, and the Longhorns looked sharp and explosive in the win over lowly New Mexico State. But a funny thing happened on the way to Prove – Texas forgot to bring its run defense. 550 yards of Cougar ground game later, and a 40-21 loss, and now the entire program is in a state of upheaval. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was launched, Mack Brown’s seat is under an all-time red-hot flame, and the loaded team now appears to be one more loss away from going into the tank.

But there’s still time.

Texas didn’t lose to a Big 12 team, and it didn’t completely knock itself out of the national title picture. There are still plenty of big wins out there to be had, and it all starts with an Ole Miss team that’s trying to navigate its way through a brutal early schedule.

After this, the 2-0 Rebels get two weeks off to prepare for a run of at Alabama, at Auburn, Texas A&M and LSU, but first, a huge win in Austin would take the season to a whole other level. Yes, Texas just lost, and looked bad doing it, and yes, the program might be in disarray, but it would still be a win over big-name team in a big-time setting, and for the young and emerging Rebels, a win might serve as a catalyst to a surprising season.

Texas blasted away last year in a 66-31 win in Oxford, but the first ever meeting between the two schools was in Houston – in 1912. Texas won 53-14.

Why Ole Miss Might Win: Taysom Hill. It’s not that Texas doesn’t have the talent, and it’s not that the defense isn’t athletic, and it’s not that the front seven can’t tackle. For whatever reason, the uber-talented Longhorns don’t seem able to use their speed and athleticism to get around the ball defensively, and when they did against BYU, they whiffed way too often. The defensive line that was so squishy-soft throughout last season got shoved around in Provo, and BYU quarterback Taysom Hill took advantage with 259 yards and three touchdowns on a mere 17 carries. Meanwhile, Cougar back Jamaal Williams, who’s hardly a thumper, managed to weave and barrel his way to 182 yards on a tough 30 carries. And now it’s Mississippi’s turn, with a slew of quick backs, and a dangerous backup quarterback option in Barry Brunetti to weave into the mix as a curveball, ready to take their cuts. It’s a question of want-to with the Longhorn defenders, but is there a night-and-day difference in just one week?

Why Texas Might Win: Keep the chains moving. How do you bail out a struggling defense? You keep control of the ball and you keep the other guys on the sideline. Vanderbilt was able to convert third down plays at will against the Rebel defense, hitting on half of its chances, and SE Missouri State wasn’t too bad at it last week, either, keeping the score manageable in a 31-13 loss by converting on 6-of-14 tries and keeping the ball for over 33 minutes. Texas strikes so quickly that third downs and time of possession don’t usually mean much, but they could be really, really important this week against the Rebel defense because …

Who To Watch Out For: Starting quarterback David Ash is banged up with a head injury. It’s not his fault that BYU went bananas on his defense, and while he wasn’t perfect, he wasn’t bad completing 19-of-34 passes for 251 yards and two scores, while finishing second on the team in rushing. If he can’t go, it’ll be veteran backup Case McCoy getting the nod.

- All the focus has been on defensive end Robert Nkemdiche and the other great young talents, freshman receiver Laquon Treadwell is looking the part of something special who’ll stand out from the pack. The 6-2, 215-pounder only caught two passes for 27 yards last week, but he wasn’t needed much after putting up nine grabs against Vanderbilt in the opener. With do-it-all playmaker Daje Johnson out for Texas with an ankle injury, Treadwell might be the best receiver in this game by far.
- While way too many of the tackles were made down the field, Texas linebacker Jordan Hicks put up a whale of a game against BYU making 15 tackles he’s showing no ill-effects from the hip injury that sidelined him last year.
- Two of the best defensive ends in America are on display. Robert Nkemdiche of Ole Miss might only have two games under his belt, but he looks the part of a grown man future NFL star from Day One. He has yet to generate a sack, but has seven tackles with three tackles for loss so far. On the other side, Jackson Jeffcoat is also trying to come up with his first sack of the year, but they’ll come. He has 14 tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss, but he has to get to mobile quarterback Bo Wallace and pressure him all game long.

What Will Happen: Texas will come back with a new fire and more pep, but Ole Miss might simply be better. With a David Ash hurting, and with no Daje Johnson, a lot of the punch is gone. Can McCoy hold his weight in a game like this? Yes, but the Ole Miss running game will enter the stadium drooling.

Prediction: Ole Miss 34 … Texas 30
Line: Texas -4.5 o/u: 55
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) ... 4