Defensive Matchups 9-14

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Defensive line

Both teams are stout across the line, although Texas has not been as productive getting to the quarterback as expected. As a team, the Longhorns have only picked up two sacks and teams have gained an average on 14.1 yards per catch, suggesting that quarterbacks are not seeing as much pressure as Texas would like. Ole Miss, however, has sacked opposing quarterbacks nine times through two games, good for a total loss of 51 yards. Likewise, the Rebels have allowed just 2.1 yards per carry.


Advantage: Ole Miss

 


Linebackers

Despite coming into the season without much experience at the position, linebacker has become an area of strength for the Longhorns. Texas’ top two tacklers at any position play linebacker, with Jordan Hicks leading the team with 20 tackles and Steve Edmond registering 17 to come in at second. In addition, these two have combined for five tackles for losses in two games. Edmond has filled in admirably at middle linebacker, replacing Keenan Robinson as the anchor of the defense. For Ole Miss, nobody at the linebacker position has nearly as many tackles as either Hicks or Edmond, with Mike Marry leading the Rebels at the position with 11.


Advantage: Texas

 

Defensive Backs

The secondary has been arguably the most impressive area for the Longhorns thus far. Texas has allowed just 155.5 yards per game through the air in 2012 and this is largely due to the coverage skills of the team’s cornerbacks and safeties. The defensive backs have also turned in several big plays two games in, with Quandre Diggs, Carrington Byndom and Kenny Vaccarro each recording an interception. Ole Miss has struggled to shut down the pass to an extent, allowing an average of 260.5 yards to its two opponents thus far. While the Rebels have picked off two passes, the balance of coverage skills and big-play ability give the Longhorns the more explosive secondary.


Advantage: Texas

 

Special Teams

Both teams have struggled converting on field goals this season. Freshman Nick Jordan has missed three of his five attempts and the Longhorns as a team are 10-of-11 on extra points. While the Rebels have not yet missed a point-after try, Bryson Rose is 0-for-4 on field goal attempts. The Rebels have outgained Texas by 10 yards on kick returns, but the Longhorns have made more out of their punt return opportunities, recording 66 yards on three returns to Ole Miss’ 16 yards in six attempts.


Advantage: Texas