Nothing short of a great win for Texas tonight. Definitely felt a lot like David Ash took some big steps toward maturity in the Longhorns' first road trip of 2012.
He completed 15 consecutive passes from the first to third quarters, and showed some big improvement as the Longhorns rolled over Ole Miss, 66-31.
Time for some instant analysis:
It was over when: Texas opened the second half with a dominant drive, going 78 yards in seven plays and capping it with a powerful D.J. Monroe 10-yard touchdown run. That put the Longhorns up 38-10 and took even more energy out of an amped crowd at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Any idea of an upset ended when Texas asserted itself to open the half and prevented the Rebels from gaining any momentum.
Gameball goes to: Ash. Did we just see his career breakout game? Ole Miss' secondary looked ragged for much of the game, but Ash, a sophomore, played the best game of his career, and showed plenty of promise that he could be depended on later in the season. He finished 19-of-23 for 326 yards, four touchdowns and still has yet to throw his first interception of 2012. Did anyone think we could see this kind of performance out of Ash this early in the season?
Unsung hero of the game: Texas' offensive line. The big uglies up front gave David Ash all day to throw, and the holes were roomy and frequent for Texas' rushing attack all night long. The focus in this game will be on Ash's performance, but the offensive line deserves plenty of credit, too.
What Texas learned: The offense can look like a juggernaut from time to time. We haven't seen an offensive performance like this from Texas in a long, long time. Texas hadn't scored this many points since the Big 12 title game in 2005, and the next game ended with the Longhorns hoisting a national championship trophy. It's too soon to have any talk close to that, but Ash's development makes that power running game up front even tougher to stop. His difficult freshman season seemed pretty far in the rearview mirror tonight.
What Ole Miss learned: The defense has a long way to go. Receivers were open all day, and when Ash put the ball in the air, the Rebels defensive backs never seemed to be able to find it. The front seven were dominated, and the Longhorns made this win look easy. Could be a long season in Oxford for Hugh Freeze's first season.