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Texas Longhorns vs. Mississippi Rebels Free Pick 9/14/13

Mississippi Rebels (2-0) at Texas Longhorns (1-1)

NCAAF Football: Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 8:00 pm (Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium)

The Line: Texas Longhorns -3.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: Longhorns Network

Storyline:  BYU’s 40-21 upset of then 15th ranked Texas Saturday night hardly seemed like an upset at all. The Cougars simply looked like the better team, rushing for a school record 550 yards, the most ever given up by a Longhorns defense. The Ole Miss Rebels, meanwhile, jumped into the Top 25 just as Texas dropped out, with a 31-13 victory over SE Missouri.

The Breakdown: The heat just got turned up big time in Austin, but putting the blame squarely on the Texas defense is minimizing a stellar performance from the BYU offense, however Swiss cheesy they may have been. BYU QB Taysom Hill rattled off runs of 68, 26 and 20 yards en route to a 259-yard, 3 touchdown rushing performance, the second most ever by a QB in FBS history. Texas’ Vince Young ran for 267 in 2005. It’s difficult not to blame the Longhorns defense, though. Hill was never a threat to pass the ball effectively and completed just 9-of-26 for 129 yards and 1 interception, but was still able to run BYU’s new read-option offense like he’d done it for years, facing little to no duress. Longhorns Jr. LB Jordan Hicks had 15 tackles and Sr. DE Jackson Jeffcoat recorded 7 stops, but poor tackling and bad pursuit angles were the order of the day for the Texas defense. Offensively, the Longhorns just couldn’t keep up. There were some good performances statistically—Jr. QB David Ash completed 19-of-34 for 251 yards and 2 touchdowns, Soph. RB Johnathan Gray rushed for 90 yards on 13 carries, and Wide Receivers Sr. Mike Davis and Jr. Jaxon Shipley both eclipsed the century mark, with 8 receptions for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns, and 8 catches for 105 yards respectively. The Horns were just ill-prepared for a shootout.

Texas Longhorns vs. Mississippi Rebels Free Pick 9/14/13

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss was on cruise control for most of its win against FCS SE Missouri and the game was already over by the time the first half ended. The Rebels’ entire 31-point scoring total came during a 20 minute blitzkrieg that was highlighted by touchdown passes of 64 and 67 yards from Jr. QB Bo Wallace to Fresh TE Evan Ingram and Jr. WR Donte Moncrief. Ole Miss also put up solid numbers on the ground, with Sr. QB Barry Brunetti, who shared snaps with Wallace, rushing for 111 yards and one touchdown, while Soph RB I’Tavius Mathers carried 4 times for 56 yards and 1 touchdown. Defensively, the Rebels were stout, holding SE Missouri to 252 total yards.

Betting Trends: Texas is 5-11 in its last 16 games ATS following a SU win, 2-8 against the spread in its last 10 games following an ATS win, 8-2 when playing in September, and 9-1 when playing out of conference. Ole Miss is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games, 4-11 SU in its last 15 games on the road, 5-5 in September, 7-3 on turf, and 9-1 outside of conference play.

Rick’s Pick:  The line in this one is set at -3.5 for Texas and I’d have to lean that way, despite the BYU loss. Not to take anything away from Ole Miss, but they haven’t really faced anyone yet. The win against Vanderbilt in week one was slightly notable, the win against FCS SE Missouri, not so much. The Longhorns offense can still explode at any time and I think they play well enough on defense in this one to get the cover.

 Follow me on Twitter @SCPRick

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Texas -3.5

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