Texas broke in a new defensive coordinator this week but got the same result as last week.
The Longhorns reeled off 23 consecutive points after falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter but were dominated by Ole Miss in the second half. The Rebels (3-0) scored 30 consecutive points of their own en route to beating Texas 44-23 in front of 101,474 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
“They were running the same thing over and over again. It was pretty disappointing,” senior linebacker Jordan Hicks said. “We’re all bought in. There’s no change. It’s a still a player-run team. We’re trying to get this thing back right.”
The last time Texas (1-2) lost two of its first three games was in 1998 — Mack Brown’s first season as the Longhorns coach. Texas won eight of its final nine games that season and produced the school’s second Heisman Trophy winner, but things are not looking as promising in 2013.
Never miss a local story.
“I don’t know why we’re playing inconsistent,” Brown said. “We can get this righted by winning the Big 12 championship, and that’s what they’ve got to do.”
Ole Miss found the end zone on its first two drives, taking a 14-0 lead halfway through the first quarter. Case McCoy, starting in place of an injured David Ash, hit Mike Davis for a 13-yard score on the ensuing possession. That touchdown sparked a 23-point rally as the Longhorns scored on five consecutive first-half possessions.
The Rebels quickly regained the lead in the second half, engineering touchdown drives of 80 and 81 yards to begin the third quarter. The lack of successful defensive halftime adjustments — one of the reasons why Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz last weekend — was coupled by a big special teams mistake.
Jeff Scott ran for 162 yards and one touchdown, but his biggest contribution to the Ole Miss victory was a back-breaking 73-yard punt return for a touchdown in the final minute of the third quarter. The score put the Longhorns in a 38-23 hole going into the fourth quarter, one from which they could not climb out.
A week after surrendering a school-record 550 rushing yards in a 40-21 loss to BYU, Texas was gashed for 274 rushing yards by the Rebels. Bo Wallace was able to hurt the Longhorns through the air as well, completing 17 of 25 passes for 177 yards and two scores. He also ran for 57 yards and a touchdown.
McCoy made his first start since last year’s regular-season finale against Kansas State. He managed the game well in the first half but was unable to help Texas get into a rhythm in the second half. He connected on 24 of his 36 passes but for only 196 yards and a touchdown.
Despite losing two offensive linemen (Mason Walters and Josh Cochran) early, Texas ran for 116 yards in the first half but managed only 8 yards on 13 carries in the last 30 minutes.
“Overall, when we got to the second half we weren’t as effective,” co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite said. “We have to go back and analyze that.”
The Longhorns are hoping this upcoming week doesn’t go as badly as the past one did.
They’ll look to regroup in time for next weekend’s visit from Kansas State — a team they haven’t beaten in 10 years.