By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Both programs have seen better days, but the names still command attention when you put Ole Miss and Texas together on a football field.
A visit by the No. 14-ranked Longhorns to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium to face rebuilding Ole Miss highlights Week 3 of college football locally.
Mississippi State (2-0), coming off its first win against an SEC Western Division opponent not named Ole Miss, travels to Troy to face the Trojans (1-1).
What looked like an easy road trip when the season began may be viewed from a different perspective now in light of a big upset win for Louisiana-Monroe – a Sun Belt Conference team like Troy – against No. 8 Arkansas in Little Rock on Saturday night.
Ole Miss amassed more than 500 yards of offense for the second-straight week in defeating UTEP 28-10.
The Rebels and Longhorns are both 2-0. Texas will present Ole Miss with a measuring stick on a different level.
“I think it’s a little early for us to say how big a game that really is,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. “The thing that makes it big to us is recruiting. We’ll be on a national stage, and we’ll have an opportunity in front of a lot of people playing at that time to showcase Ole Miss, our stadium, our fans, the atmosphere here, the Grove.”
It’s better for the Rebels to host the Longhorns after two wins, as opposed to it being a season opener.
Freeze made it a point to hit his familiar off-season themes following the UTEP win, speaking of the program in the wilderness and again touching on limited talent and depth.
But it’s clear that confidence is growing. The Rebels were better on the defensive line in Week 2, holding the Miners to 1.2 yards per rush.
“You match last year’s output … I really haven’t thought about it, but the kids were talking about it this week and over at the hotel last night,” defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said. “I think they have confidence in us, and we have confidence in them, so it’s a huge thing, but we have a long way to go to be able to be successful next week.”