If anyone, anywhere, has been harboring any notions that Mack willl 'get this fixed', it's long past time to let them go. The good news is that change is assured at this point, and that in roughly three more months the pride and winning tradition of the Texas Longhorns will no longer be entrusted to the weak and the timid.
The bad news...is those three months.
Things started out with Jonathan Gray flashing serious speed to the sideline, but that whole 'only 53 yards of horizontal space' thing got him dropped for no gain. A T-E stunt dumped Malcolm Brown on third - to be fair, Texas hasn't seen any of those in practice the last couple of seasons, so it's tough to fault them for that one.
The second drive featured the comedy of Case McCoy faking a Read Option keep, and also a treat for Longhorn history buffs as Jonathan Gray broke the second ankle tackle of his career. Energized by this feat, Gray showed some tough and decisive running on the drive, but a pair of false starts in a morgue-silent stadium showed the kind of focus the OL brought to the party. Fortunately, running downfield against safeties named Bryce was more to their liking, and they paved the way for Mike D to get respect on a nice tunnel screen to get Texas on the board.
A crisp-ish drive closed out the first quarter, featuring some short passes with the kind of room that indicated that true Southern Gentlemen don't lower themselves by reading scouting reports and keying on an opposing QB's weaknesses. The drive stalled after some embarrassing run blocking on the right side of the OL and a corner fade to Mike D missed while also leaving Texas' best weapon limping ominously to the sideline.
Fortunately for Texas, they were able to capitalize on some Ole Misscues. The rarely seen defensive back technique of "baseball turn the wrong way and then jack the receiver in the chest" yielded a PI that set the Horns up with a first and goal. The OL swiftly conspired to shit on that good fortune, as false starts and an outright whiff from Kennedy Estelle at RT put Texas behind the eight ball. The second field goal of the Anthony Fera Redemption Project put Texas up six.
Sadly for Texas, Ole Miss did the halftime math. Turns out that 8 in the box + zero slack given on short throws = no chance when your QB doesn't have a D1 arm. Nkedimeche and a collection of 3-star recruits and white DBs clamped down on a punchless Texas O in the second half as Mack's gross mismanagement of the QB position came into razor-sharp relief.
Swap Southern Baptists for Mormons and you more or less had a BYU redux on the first two drives as a surgically repaired QB surgically dismantled Texas' defense. Assignment errors, shoddy tackling and confusion were all on the menu, with the added insult of getting straight drove from the five to the goal line for the game's first TD.
There was literally no resistance on the Rebs' second drive, culminating in a comically easy wheel-route TD where you could just see the Warner Bros.-style animated question marks popping up over the defenders' heads.
For a while, the aforementioned Ole Misscues came to the rescue. False starts killed one Rebel drive while a Michael Ungar-style illegal hit on the punt returner set Texas up in fine field position. A dubious holding call on an Ole Miss wideout was followed by Lady Luck's ill-aspected cousin, Dame Derp, choosing to alight on the other QB's shoulder as Wallace flat-out dropped the ball for the Texas D to pounce on in Rebel territory.
Ole Misscues weren't the only story during Texas' lone sound stretch of football - the headliner was the return of actual, assignment-sound defense after Texas' early-drive debacles. Correlation doesn't imply causation, but this seemed to correlate pretty F'ing strongly with more 55 and less 33 at linebacker. Ced Reed put up a solid stretch with consistent pressure, a couple of batted balls and a general take-no-prisoners attitude. After looking like they simply weren't physically or emotionally into the whole 'hold your ground' thing, the DTs began to eat up blocks and keep Ole Miss from simply having their way inside. A strong overall effort in the second quarter was hamstrung by a garbage targeting call on Phillips that gifted Ole Miss with a late FG to close within six at the half.
Apres halftime, the deluge.
Ole Miss began running the Athletic Case McCoy offense, picking Texas to death with short throws and screens mixed with some keeps by Wallace and the stretch handoff that Texas never managed to find the answer for. And, predictably, the guy who'd been running his offense for two years was able to out-adjust the guy who'd been running his defense for six days. It got ugly late as the Texas D folded the tents and confusion once again surged to the fore. Robinson did more or less everything he could given the absurd situation he was thrust into, but he's not the first coach to be set up for failure by the Mack Brown regime.
Here's hoping that he's the last.
Today we spell redemption F-E-R-A! Anthony did a solid job nailing a pair of FGs to keep Texas in it while dispelling some of the 2012 WVU stink.
Unfortunately, today we spell failure P-U-N-T-C-O-V-E-R-T-E-A-M, and Texas' willingness to relegate special teams to an afterthought bit them in the ass yet again as Ole Miss hammered in the coffin nail with a punt return TD.
The Bottom Line
The Horns displayed little to no quit and some laudable shit tonight. They executed well at times, played assignments well at times, competed fairly well throughout and didn't quit - they simply got outplayed by marginal Top 25 squad.
And if that seems like it's damning with faint praise - you're goddamn right it is.