Each week, HornsNation teams up with the ESPN Stats & Info crew to dig into the numbers that matter most and find three statistics which could make a big difference on Saturday. Let's take a look at Texas’ final nonconference test against Ole Miss (7 p.m. CT, Longhorn Network).
No. 1: 182.5
That's the number of rushing yards Ole Miss has averaged per game since coach Hugh Freeze took over last season. The most the Rebels have rushed for in a game since 2012 was 330 yards, and against Southeast Missouri State last Saturday, they put up 272. The Ole Miss school record, in case Texas’ run defense completely falls apart again this week, is 515. That was set back in 1951.
Mack Brown made the change at defensive coordinator because he refused to let Texas’ problems with run defense continue. Freeze has already expressed concern and discomfort about the fact Texas will be throwing a new defense at Ole Miss, and it’ll be interesting to see how he attacks that run D early and often. After Texas’ performance in Provo, what coach wouldn’t?
No. 2: 67th
New Texas defensive coordinator Greg Robinson has not coached a top-50 defense (in either scoring or yardage) since he left Texas following the 2004 season. His best season was in 2005, as first-year head coach of Syracuse, when the Orange finished tied for No. 67 in the nation in scoring defense and No. 57 in total defense. In his final season as Michigan defensive coordinator, the Wolverines were No. 110 in total defense and No. 108 in scoring defense.
Brown doesn’t care about those numbers. He’s said Robinson was working with bad players and a bad team at Michigan, and he’s confident that the Greg Robinson who takes the field on Saturday night will be much like the one he remembers from 2004. Texas doesn’t expect perfection in his debut vs. Ole Miss, but Brown is hoping his team plays more physical and tackles much better.
No. 3: 3-0
Texas got on a roll in 2012 in its 66-31 beatdown of Ole Miss thanks to three Rebels' turnovers, all interceptions thrown by Bo Wallace. Winning the turnover battle 3-0 in Oxford was no doubt critical to a runaway victory. Turnovers didn’t doom Texas last week against BYU, but they could this time.
Believe it or not, Case McCoy has only thrown interceptions in three games of his Longhorn career. Six of his seven career interceptions, though, came in the only two games of his career when he’s thrown for 300 or more yards. He led Texas up and down the field against Baylor in 2011 and Kansas State in 2012, but if he makes similar mistakes on Saturday, this game can get away from him like the last two did.
Three more to remember
113: The number of rushes of 10-plus yards that Texas has given up since the beginning of the 2012 season. That ranks second-worst in FBS behind Indiana.
9-2: Texas’ record when receiver Mike Davis scores a touchdown. He has three this season.
6-0: Texas’ record when playing on the Longhorn Network.