OXFORD, Miss. (AP) – Texas started its night by running over Mississippi’s defense.
When that got boring, the Longhorns ran around it.
Finally, they let quarterback David Ash get in on the fun, lobbing long touchdowns as No. 14 Texas clobbered Mississippi 66-31 on Saturday night.
By the end of the evening, the statistics were impressive. Ash threw for a career-high 326 yards and four touchdowns, receiver Marquise Goodwin accounted for 182 yards and two touchdowns and the Longhorns gained 676 yards.
It was the most points Ole Miss has given up in a game since 1917.
“It’s not always that easy,” Ash said. “But when you’re playing physical and tough football, it’s amazing what you can accomplish.”
Ash connected on touchdown passes of 46 and 55 yards while completing 19 of 23 passes in a nearly flawless performance. Mike Davis caught five passes for 124 yards and a touchdown.
“I was really excited about the number of explosive plays we had tonight,” Texas coach Mack Brown said. “After Marquise’s big play, our offense really played well and played with a lot of confidence the rest of the way.”
Texas (3-0) led 31-10 by halftime and 52-24 by the end of the third quarter. The Longhorns could have scored more than 70 points, but took a knee on their final two offensive plays rather than try to punch in one last touchdown.
It was the only mercy shown toward the Ole Miss defense all night.
“Defensively we were bad,” first-year Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. “We’ve got to go find out exactly why.”
Ole Miss (2-1) simply couldn’t match the Longhorns’ prolific offense. Texas scored on seven straight possessions at one point, including touchdowns on six of those drives.
Bo Wallace threw for 178 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions for the Rebels. Donte Moncrief caught seven passes for 144 yards and a touchdown.
It was obvious from the beginning that Texas was the bigger and faster team. The Longhorns used their twin battering rams — running backs Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown — to pound away at the Ole Miss defensive line early in the game.
And when the Rebels finally made some progress stopping the smash-mouth approach, Texas responded with a pair of big plays from Goodwin. He rushed for a 69-yard touchdown on a sweep to give Texas a 17-7 lead and then made a 47-yard catch on the next drive that set up another touchdown and pushed the Longhorns ahead 24-10.
“We finally took advantage of opportunities that have been there for two games,” Ash said.
Ole Miss managed to keep things close for a little while, thanks to an 89-yard drive in the first quarter that ended with Randall Mackey’s 3-yard touchdown run.
But the Rebels rarely gave Wallace much time to throw, and that contributed to his three interceptions and generally inconsistent night.
Texas didn’t waste any time putting the game away in the second half, scoring on a 10-yard run by D.J. Monroe and a 5-yard run by Malcolm Brown.
By the end of the third quarter, the Longhorns had an insurmountable lead and the 61,797 in attendance started streaming for the exits. It was the fourth-largest crowd in Vaught-Hemingway history.
Those that stuck around watched Ole Miss freshman Jaylen Walton return a kickoff for a 100-yard touchdown. It was a good moment on an otherwise dismal night for the Rebels.
Freeze said his team showed some fight even during the hopeless final minutes, but was clearly outclassed.
“They definitely played better than we did,” Freeze said. “(Texas is) a good team — big, physical and fast.”
Ole Miss had some confidence coming into the game after winning two straight against UTEP and Central Arkansas. And the Rebels had some success against the Texas defense, gaining 399 total yards, including 229 passing and 170 rushing.
Brown agreed that the Longhorns’ defense wasn’t perfect, but he wasn’t going to get greedy.
“After every game you have concerns,” Brown said. “But when you win 66-31 you have to be pleased.”
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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