Predictions Anyone?

Clearly excited by his team’s 28-10 win over UTEP, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze immediately returned to his message in the postgame interview session, and that message is wilderness.

As No. 14 Texas visits, the Rebels are still there, he says. I believe him.

There’s been a lot to like about Ole Miss in two games, an exciting fast-paced offense, strong quarterback play, a good running game, Donte Moncrief at WR, a defensive line that showed improvement from Week 1 to Week 2.

There has been plenty that needs more improvement too, oddly enough field goal kicking one of those things. The ease with which teams are passing the football is another, this in spite of the fact that the Rebels are on a pace to shatter sack numbers from a year ago. Ole Miss had just 13 sacks last year and has nine through two games. Still the passing yards have come for the opponents. It’s impressive that Bo Wallace has completed 76.8 percent of his pass attempts, but opponents are completing 72.2.

So where the Rebels might have an advantage against a Texas’ vertical passing game that has been fairly pedestrian, they might not be in position to exploit that advantage.

I liked the defensive line last week. From Central Arkansas to UTEP, there was a big step forward. Unlike Texas-El Paso, this week’s Texas has no hyphen. The Austin boys cover the whole state, and everything is bigger over there you know. So this will be a big and athletic offensive line blocking for backs that go 223 (Malcolm Brown) and 230 (Joe Bergeron).

The Rebels will have to be at their best even in the fourth quarter after fatigue sets in. That’s when big backs break tackles most.

The Longhorns, under former Mississippi State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, have given up yards between the 20s, but teams have had trouble punching it in. Wyoming scored 17 in a 37-17 loss, New Mexico nothing in a 45-0 loss.

I think the Texas speed hurts Ole Miss here. The Rebels are not a team that lines up and marches forward behind a physical offensive line. The up-tempo offense has a lot of good about it, but it depends on backs to get to the edge and wide receivers to make somebody miss or break a tackle at first contact. I think the closing speed of the Texas defense shows up here and causes the Rebels trouble.

I think Ole Miss is an improved football team. This game will be a great measuring stick to learn just how much improvement there’s been with SEC play just two weeks away.

Texas has fallen off a bit since its 2009 BCS title game appearance against Alabama, but it’s still a formidable opponent. The Rebels have lost nine straight against ranked opponents, and last year this game would have been a blowout.

The combination of Texas coach Mack Brown not having his best Longhorns team, plus an improved Ole Miss, plus the excitement that has been manufactured by a 2-0 start gets the Rebels off to a good start in this game. They will compete for 60 minutes, and while Freeze says he can’t control the scoreboard, I don’t think it will say 52-3 by game’s end.

But I think there will be two touchdowns worth of difference.

Prediction: Texas 35, Ole Miss 21

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

Posted in Football
  • Ole Miss will be in the game in the first half, but I truly believe we are just too thin to play 4 quarters with a talented team like Texas. I’d like to say and feel differently about the game, but let’s just be honest, this would be an EPIC win for the Rebs and would be an unbelievable uplift for our whipped-down fanbase. I’m hoping for a huge win, but not counting on it.
    Horns 38
    Rebs 24

  • Rebelcuz

    Ole Miss will never get any breaks from the SEC

  • Even though Ole Miss is about a ten (10) point underdog to Texas, I am going for an unset here. No points listed but Rebels a winner over the longhorns.

  • Parrish Alford

    I think most folks believe this game will be closer than they thought it would have been in the off-season.

  • My head says Texas by 14, but my heart says that the Rebs will hang in there until late in the 4th and pull it out with a field goal. Rebs 24, Longhorns 21.

  • Great to see Debbie Downer back on the blog posting again! 🙂 I think we’re headed in the right direction this year but am not expecting any miracles. I think we have a chance in this game, but I’m not expecting us to pull it off. Special teams is still a work in progress and hurts us in this game. Poor punt returns and 3 missed field goals.

    Texas 41
    Ole Miss 35

  • RebFan1

    I see a 77 ND type upset here. Nobody expects improved Ole Miss to win this game, although many people think it will be closer than originally expected due to the improved play by the Rebels. I think this team has that “it” factor, and they are hungry for success! Ole Miss will squeak out a win and go into the Bama game at 4 and 0 and sky high!!!!

    Rebels 24
    Longhorns 23

  • Debbie downer or Reality?

    • Give you a hard time. I picked Texas too.

  • Mantachie

    i beleive the rebs will upset at least one team this year. and yes it could be texas

  • Patrick Homan

    I will go with Texas 24 Ole Miss 16. But the game will come down to late in the second half before Texas pulls away with Ole Miss not putting 7 on the board til the 4th quarter. Bryson Rose will be the player of the game for the Rebels.

    If Ole Miss is going to win they will have to do three things. #1. Make Texas throw the football, #2 win the turn over battle, #3 get on top early and carry a lead into the half.

  • I predict a good game and several plays that we have not seen before from Ole Miss.

    Ole Miss 31

    Texas 28

  • ole miss better get used to playing teams MUCH better than texas. we can win if we play without turnovers. ole miss wins by 3 with a late field goal, which will make up for the 0-4 field goal start.

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