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Horns to see what they’ve been missing out on this weekend

 
Before David Ash caught a six-yard touchdown pass from wideout Jaxon Shipley in the second quarter of last year’s Holiday Bowl, the Texas Longhorns had gone 25 straight drives without finding the end zone with Ash behind center. 
 
Ash, who was named the 2011 Holiday Bowl MVP, was not named the Longhorns’ starting quarterback for the 2012 season until less than two weeks before the opener. Between that 21-10 win over California last December and now, Texas considered adding a quarterback from the junior college ranks – Bo Wallace. 
 
Wallace -- who threw for 4,604 yards and 53 touchdowns, both NJCAA records, while leading East Mississippi Community College to a national title -- talked to Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin and reportedly planned a visit to Austin before eventually committing to Ole Miss. 
 
“At that time, it was just getting to know each other, nothing more than that,” Harsin said. “He was obviously, at that time, a very good football player, a top JC quarterback in the country. But we just felt like the direction we needed to go was with the guys that we had and just stick with that. It was nothing against Bo.”
 
Since winning the Rebels’ starting quarterback job, he has totaled 573 yards between his first two career starts and scored seven touchdowns. In comparison, Ash scored his seventh career touchdown in his eighth career start in a 45-0 victory over New Mexico this past weekend. 
 
“What stands out is, No. 1, his presence,” said Longhorns defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who helped lead Mississippi State to a 31-23 win over Ole Miss two years ago, of Wallace. “He’s managing their bad plays well, and he’s managing their explosive plays well. Their offense is predicated on creating explosive plays.”
 
The Longhorns are double-digit favorites heading into their first-ever trip to Oxford (and first road game against an SEC team since a two-point win over Arkansas in 2004). More importantly, this game could serve to validate Texas’ decision to stick with Ash or serve as a reminder of what it let slip away. 
 
“I’m sure there’ll be a little something on his shoulder,” senior safety Kenny Vaccaro said. 
 
Wallace was regarded as one of the nation’s best junior college quarterbacks in the country, although the Longhorns have shown that they’ve been able to develop blue-chip quarterback prospects and under-the-radar signal-callers alike. Vince Young, the top overall prospect in the country, at any position, coming out of Madison High School in Houston, led Texas to a national title seven seasons ago while Colt McCoy, a two-star prospect from tiny Tuscola, Texas, left the Longhorns as the NCAA’s all-time winningest quarterback. 
 
“What we’d like to do is have a quarterback that’s athletic enough to be able to make plays with his feet,” Texas head coach Mack Brown said. “It gives you an added dimension. How many plays did Colt and Vince make when it was third down and four, when it was 3rd-and-4, when the receivers were covered, and they ran for a first down?”
 
Brown and the rest of the Longhorns will see first-hand that “added dimension” this Saturday.