No one knew how the Texas Longhorns offense would react on Saturday night as they walked into SEC country and prepared to take the field in front of the largest non-conference crowd in Ole Miss Rebels’ history.
After all, the Texas offense has struggled over the last couple of seasons to say the least. Even this year, against weaker competition, the Horns have been efficient, yet they seemed to lack firepower and many fans wondered if this year’s offense would be more of a struggle.
However, in front of 60,000 fired up Rebel fans, the Texas offense, led by sophomore quarterback David Ash, finally awakened.
Texas finished the night with their highest number of yards gained (nearly 700) since 1969. They finished with the most points they’ve scored (66) since their 2005 National Championship season.
And David Ash answered any questions fans may have about his ability to quarterback the Texas Longhorns with the best performance of his young collegiate career. He ended the game going 19 for 23 (83%), for 326 yards passing, 4 touchdowns, and, most importantly, no turnovers.
Fans finally saw Ash and his receivers complete several big downfield plays, including touchdown passes of 45 and 55 yards. Sure, some with the a “glass-half-empty” outlook will tell you that Ash under threw several deep balls, but a quarterback is supposed to put his receivers in position to make big plays, and that’s precisely what they did.
Speaking of the receivers, they had their best night of the season as well. Mike Davis had the kind of game we all knew he could have, finishing with 5 receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown. Marquis Goodwin had a 100-yard reeiving night of his own.
Though it’s no surprise, the Horns’ running game was solid again as well, gaining 350 yards on the ground at 6.5 yards per carry behind another 120+ yard game from Malcolm Brown.
The offensive line completely overpowered the Rebels’ defense, giving Ash plenty of time to make downfield throws, opening holes for the running backs, and protecting Ash to the tune of 0 sacks on the night.
It’s been several seasons since the Longhorns have had this balanced of an offensive attack, but co-offensive coordinators Bryan Harsin and Major Applewhite have done a solid job in turning it around, or so it seems for now.
Can the Longhorns keep it up against better defenses? Only time will tell, but fortunately for them, the Big 12 doesn’t play much defense these days.
The Texas Longhorns needed to prove that they were capable of producing a powerful offense that could keep up with the offensive juggernauts in the conference, and David Ash needed to show that he could indeed be the one to lead them; both finally came to be on Saturday night in hostile SEC territory.