Ash, Brown make it hard to dwell on defensive miscues

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Texas gave up touchdowns of 48, 75 and 100 yards in the second half of its 66-31 win over Ole Miss Saturday night. The longhorns committed more penalties this weekend than it did in its previous two games combined.

The last of those second-half scores was on a kickoff return despite the Longhorns not allowing Wyoming or New Mexico to return a kickoff past their 20-yard line.

But all of that seems irrelevant. Because everything that everyone has been desperately waiting for this Texas offense to do, it did in Oxford Saturday night during a dominating 66-31 victory.

“I think our guys were extremely motivated and came out and played well,” Longhorns head coach Mack Brown said. “I was a little surprised by the tempo. I knew our offense was quick, but make no mistake, Ole Miss’ offense was quick as well. They moved the ball up and down the field well. I was proud to see our guys not back down.”

David Ash putting up Colt McCoy-like numbers — completing 19 of 23 passes for 326 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions — is more important than any kickoff return the Rebels could have scored on.

“The game was won up front, and our offense dominated this game,” Ash said. “That was the reason we were able to be successful. That’s why we’ve been playing really well.”

Malcolm Brown, getting many of his carries in the absence of an injured Joe Bergeron, ran for 128 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries — 19 more than the woefully inadequate two carries he got in a 45-0 win over New Mexico last weekend.  

Mike Davis and Marquise Goodwin each had more than 100 yards receiving and caught a touchdown pass. Goodwin, who was at the White House Friday morning with other U.S. Olympians, needed just two receptions to rack up 102 yards while adding a 69-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

“I was so proud to represent the Longhorns at the White House,” Goodwin said. “It was a challenging couple days of travel, but the experience was well worth it. It was second to none. When I got back to my teammates in Memphis late last night I knew I was home.”

Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz will have plenty of time to work out the kinks in his unit between now and when Texas takes on Oklahoma State in its Big 12 opener at the end of the month. The Longhorns did record five sacks, two of which were from senior Alex Okafor, and three interceptions of Bo Wallace, two by sophomore Quandre Diggs, but the team proved prone to giving up big plays.

It just didn’t matter, though. The Longhorns scored more points in one game since a 70-point outburst in the 2005 Big 12 Championship, a month before Vince Young led them to their first national title in more than three decades. Their 676 yards, 350 rushing and 326 passing, was tied for the second-most in a game in school history.

“Whenever you get 66 points on a team, you know the offense was very prepared,” Okafor said. “They just executed. They went out and dominated. They helped the defense out a lot by keeping us off the field.”

For once, the Texas offense bailed out its defense.

Printed on Monday, September 17, 2012 as: Offensive performance masks defensive mistakes