By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – There were red flags of warning for the Ole Miss secondary in wins over Central Arkansas and Texas-El Paso.
Texas ran those flags straight to the top of the pole.
The Longhorns – No. 14 before the game, now No. 12 – committed no turnovers, and quarterback David Ash failed to complete a pass just four times, as Texas defeated Ole Miss 66-31 late Saturday night.
Ash, the sophomore who survived a competition with junior Case McCoy to win the job, had very little downfield passing success in the first two games, averaging roughly 10 years per completion.
That changed against the Rebels, even as defensive coordinator Dave Wommack toyed with his starting lineup, inserting third-year sophomore Cliff Coleman ahead of true sophomore Senquez Golson.
Coleman had eight tackles and finished with two of the three passes batted away by Ole Miss. The other was from defensive end Jason Jones.
“I knew they’d try to get us one-on-one and try some things. Other teams have done that, and we got exposed on that last week,” he said.
The previous Ole Miss opponent, UTEP, completed 18 of 25 attempts, mostly underneath routes, for 208 yards.
UCA and UTEP had combined to complete 72.2 percent of their pass attempts – which ranked the Rebels 10th in the SEC – for six touchdown.
‘a good team’
Ash was 19 for 23 (82.6 percent) with 326 yards, no interceptions and pushed the Rebels’ touchdown passes allowed to 10 with his strikes of 3, 1, 46 and 55 yards.
“He’s a good player. He didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. He made his reads and completed the passes he needed to complete. They’re a good team,” said Ole Miss safety Charles Sawyer, who had a game-high 12 tackles.
Wommack referenced the difference in talent level but said the Rebels are a better defense than they showed against the Longhorns.
Some Ole Miss talent was missing as freshman safety Trae Elston had been suspended by the SEC during the week for what the league office called a flagrant hit against a UTEP receiver in Week 2.
Early Texas success caused Wommack to alter his game plan. He became less aggressive. As a result, and Ole Miss defense that posted nine sacks in the first two weeks did not get to Ash and rarely pressured him.
“They made us vanilla up, because we weren’t executing on defense. So they took us out of our game. When you can’t execute your assignments, I’ve always thought you better narrow back a little bit on what you’re doing. That’s my responsibility, and they did take us out of some things we wanted to do, no question,” Wommack said.