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Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, Mississippi
Surprising Ole Miss finds out whether it’s for real Saturday night when No. 12 Texas visits Oxford for the first time in a nationally televised showdown. Under new coach Hugh Freeze, the Rebels have surged to a 2-0 start, matching last year’s win total. Quarterback Bo Wallace, a junior college transfer once recruited by Texas, and top wideout Donte Moncrief already have connected for two touchdown passes of 50-plus yards. Ole Miss’ offense will be severely tested by the Longhorns, who rank eighth nationally in points allowed (8.5 per game). Texas leads the series 5-1, with the last meeting in 1966.
ABOUT TEXAS (2-0): Sophomore quarterback David Ash has been extremely efficient, completing 73 percent of his throws with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for a 49-yard score in last week’s 45-0 pasting of New Mexico. However, coaches want to see Ash get more accurate on longer throws. If the game is close, the Longhorns could use kicker Anthony Fera, who is questionable with a groin injury. He has not played this season. Freshman Nick Jordan is 2-for-5 on field goals.
ABOUT OLE MISS (2-0): The Bulldogs lead the SEC in total offense (551.5) after last week’s 28-10 victory over Texas-El Paso in which Wallace threw for three scores and ran for another. The defense also has been surprisingly good, leading the SEC with 20 tackles for loss and nine sacks. But the competition – Texas-El Paso and Central Arkansas – has been exceptionally soft. The Rebels will be without freshman defensive back Trae Elston, who is suspended for what the SEC called a “flagrant and dangerous” hit on Texas-El Paso receiver Jordan Leslie last week. The Ole Miss offense has eclipsed 500 total yards in back-to-back games for the first time since doing so against UAB and Arkansas in 2009.
1. Ole Miss last beat a ranked team in the 2010 Cotton Bowl, a 21-7 victory over then-No. 18 Oklahoma State.
2. Texas is 94-35 in non-conference games since the Big 12 formed in 1996, the best non-conference record of any Big 12 team.
3. Texas is averaging 213 yards rushing; Joe Bergeron averages 6.1 yards a carry and has run for three touchdowns.