But two first half Bo Wallace interceptions made the early-going tough, along with a touchdown called back for a score for the Rebels.
The call back came with Ole Miss trailing 17-7 when Barry Brunetti hit Donte Moncrief on the near sideline, and the sure-handed, fleet-footed receiver raced 41 yards to the end zone. But his foot was ruled out of bounds at the 23, and Ole Miss would eventually have to settle for a field goal of 39 yards by Bryson Rose.
UT’s first score had come on Ole Miss’ second possession when a Wallace pass was picked off by Steve Edmond and returned 22 yards for a touchdown. That put UT up a touchdown.
Later down 10-0 in the first quarter, the Rebels scored a touchdown on a Bo Wallace to Moncrief for a 57-yard scoring play. But Texas was ruled offsides, a play where there must have been contact or they couldn’t call it dead.
So the officials ruled it dead, and Ole Miss had to settle for moving the ball just five yards by penalty to its own 48. However at the end of an 89-yard drive, it was Randall Mackey who rushed for three yards to get the Rebels back in it 10-7.
Wallace’s second first-half interception was by Quandre Diggs and an 11-yard return to the UT 25, with a personal foul by Ole Miss tacked on, to give the Longhorns first down at their own 40. Some 12 plays and 60 yards later, the Longhorns were up 31-10 on a David Ash to Ryan Roberson 1-yard touchdown pass.
But the Longhorns were on an offensive roll and during one stretch scored on seven straight offensive possessions, all of them touchdowns but one field goal.
The Rebel offense scoring 31 points kept the game from being a total rout and embarrassing finish. Ole Miss was well under its offense yardage production the first two games, but still had 399 total yards.
Wallace finished the game 13-of-24 with a touchdown but three interceptions.
The Rebel defenders had no answer for UT. The Longhorns had 676 yards of total offense.
Through the air, Texas quarterback Ash had the type numbers Ole Miss’ Wallace did in the first two games, 19-of-23 for 326 yards and four touchdowns.
UT had nine receivers catch at least one pass, led by Mike Davis with five catches for 124 yards and a touchdown.
“We did not play well defensively,” said Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze after his team fell to 2-1. “Taking nothing away from Texas. They’re a wonderful football team, very physical, very deep. Tremendous team speed.”
Freeze said it wasn’t a surprise that Texas could move the football and score points.
Longhorn defense was tough on Rebs all night
“We knew we’d have a difficult time stepping their run game,” he said. “But they just hit us with so many big passes, some of which we were in kind of position and don’t make a play on the ball. And their guy does. I knew we would have a difficult time stopping their run game. They’re so physical and their big back does a great job.
“But we felt like we had to eliminate their play passes and not give up something over the top. We ended up giving up a bunch of them.”
Charles Sawyer, a leader of the Rebel defenders, said putting this one behind them and focusing on Tulane is the only way to go from here.
“We’ve got to learn from our mistakes tomorrow and throw this game away and move on to the next one,” said Sawyer, who led Ole Miss with 12 tackles including six solos.
Sawyer said Ash was effective and got the job done.
“He’s a good player,” Sawyer said. “He made his reads and completed the passes he needed to complete.”
Sawyer said the Rebels will move on from this one and forget about it.
“We’ll come in tomorrow and keep positive thoughts,” he said. “We’ll learn from our mistakes and move on. This game is over. We’ve got to throw this game away and move on to Tulane.”
Sawyer said he’s not concerned this Rebel team will revert to anything like the last couple of years when they struggled to stick together.
“This team won’t give up, and I believe that with all my heart,” he said. “Everybody kept playing (tonight).”
Denzel Nkemdiche said the Rbeels simply werent at their best defensively.
“I feel like we didn’t execute and gave up too many big plays,” said Nkemdiche, who had seven tackles including two solos. “You can’t beat a team that good with so many mistakes. It’s going to be great to see how the team will bounce back next week and attack next week’s workouts.”
“I still feel we’re a strong team, and we’re going to learn from this bigtime.”
Freeze said he believe his team will put this one behind it and move on to get ready for Tulane.
“You always worry about it, particularly from what we inherited and the seasons they’ve been through. My message to them in locker room is we can’t let Texas bet us twice. We’ve got to put that game behind us and we’ve got to move on. Teams that are going to have successful seasons will rebound and play well next week. That’s our charge as coaches.”