Coming off a horrific 40-21 loss to BYU, one in which the Longhorns gave up 550 yards rushing, it was a crazy week in Austin. Manny Diaz was fired from his position as defensive coordinator a few months too late, and Greg Robinson was brought in to replace him. David Ash was lost to injury at least for the week, and rumors of regime change were broke and denied. Alumni spoke their minds about the state of the program, and it was not a pretty thing to listen to.
Head Coach Mack Brown, steeled by an endorsement from Bill Powers and DeLoss Dodds, dusted off the routine fans call “Coach Clap Clap”, and tried to snake oil sell us on a big improvement this week. Ole Miss put any thoughts of that, and in the minds of the fans hopefully the Mack Brown era, to bed in a 44-23 blowout of Texas at DKR Saturday night.
Ole Miss trampled Texas for 274 yards rushing as they outscored Texas 27-0 in the second half. After saying he would not hesitate to during the week, Brown refused to turn to freshman Tyrone Swoopes at quarterback after it became clear the offense was not moving any longer. Case McCoy went the distance in the loss, where his inability to make the throws necessary to run the offense eventually became too much to overcome. Texas also saw injuries to several offensive starters, including Mike Davis and Mason Walters.
Ole Miss opened the night’s scoring by taking the opening drive 75 yards in eight plays, with Rebels RB Jeff Scott cashing in from five yards out. After a Texas three and out, Bo Wallace hit Donte Moncrief for an 18 yard touchdown to push the lead to 14-0.
Texas then showed signs of life, as the defense fought back and for a time largely shut down the Rebels offense. Case McCoy hit Mike Davis on a 13 yard touchdown pass to pull to within 14-7. Anthony Fera kicked a field goal to pull Texas to within 14-10, and on the following offensive drive Johnathan Gray did the dirty work, scoring from eight yards out to put Texas in front 17-14.
Another pair of Fera field goals put the Longhorns up 23-14, and gave the Rebels the ball back just before the half. On the drive, Adrian Phillips was flagged for targeting and initially ejected from the game. The ejection was reviewed and overturned, essentially saying Phillips did not commit a foul, but the penalty yardage stood anyway. The extra yardage put the Rebels in field goal range, where Andrew Ritter connected from 52 yards out to pull Ole Miss to within 23-17.
Going into the second half, Texas had done some good things and bad things, and to that point Major Applewhite had called a masterful game, masking Case McCoy’s previously mentioned inability to hit many of the throws in the offense. My concern was what would happen once Mississippi adjusted to the short game and forced McCoy to throw to deeper routes. In the second half of the game “what would happen” became all to real.
The Rebels finally adjusted to clog the short game and force McCoy to throw deep. The move totally shut down the Texas offense for the majority of the half, forcing multiple three and outs. Ole Miss finally embraced the BYU blueprint, abandoning a large part of its passing attack and choosing to work the read option and underneath match ups to super freshman Laquon Treadwell.
The Rebels took their first third quarter drive in this fashion 80 yards in 12 plays, the last being a 15 yard touchdown run where it seemed half the defense missed a tackle on Bo Wallace to put Ole Miss ahead for good 24-23.
Later in the quarter, Wallace drove the Rebels 81 yards in 11 plays, hitting freshman tight end Evan Engram on a 17 yard touchdown strike for a 31-23 lead. After forcing another Texas punt, disaster struck as Jeff Scott took an Anthony Fera punt back 73 yards for a touchdown to put the Rebels up 37-23 after the PAT was blocked.
As the Longhorns entered the fourth quarter, a somber crowd still clung to hope of some type of comeback down 14 points.
McCoy actually moved the the offense down the field, giving Horns fans hope Texas could close the gap to a touchdown, and then the disaster of the night, a blunder which summarizes the last few years under Mack Brown, occurred and finished off the Longhorns.
On 2nd and 10 at the Ole Miss 36, Case McCoy dropped back to pass. For some reason, Malcolm Brown came up way too close to his quarterback, and hit him in the arm causing a fumble Ole Miss recovered. The Rebels then quickly moved 59 yards in four plays, capped by an eight yard touchdown run to put the Rebels up 44-23. An announced crowd of over 101,000 had finally saw enough, and began to stream for the exits in a scene reminiscent of the John Mackovic era.
Texas had the ball two more times but was able to go nowhere. The few remaining Texas fans, for yet another time under Mack Brown, had to suffer the disgrace of watching a team celebrate in its home.
What can I say folks? Honestly, at this point I don’t know what to say anymore. Everyone knows the Mack Brown era is over, yet DeLoss Dodds, Bill Powers, Joe Jamail, and Red McCombs continue to let this sad end to a great legacy play out at the expense of the Texas program. In any event, whomever is coaching this team better get ready, as Bill Snyder and Kansas State come to DKR for what is, for the moment, a 7pm kick Saturday night on ABC.