'Like A Homecoming'

Philander Moore doesn't mince words when talking about the Ole Miss matchup with Texas Saturday night. That's because he knows what it means from both sides of the game, in a sense.

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"This game is like a homecoming," said Moore, an Austin, Texas, native, very emphatic, almost emotional, about the 8:15 p.m., nationally-televised contest on ESPN from Oxford.

If this game isn't actually a homecoming for the junior, who transferred from Blinn (Texas) Junior College after redshirting for a year and playing one year, then next year surely will be. The Rebels return the game to Moore's hometown in 2013.

"The whole reason I wanted to be an Ole Miss Rebel is because they had announced they were going to be playing Texas," Moore said one day after practice this week. "During my high school recruiting, (Texas) didn't pay really much attention to me at all. So this is a get-back game. It's real important to me. It's like revenge almost. I'm going to be taking it real serious."

Moore said he knows a lot of Texas people are coming to Oxford this weekend, and he said that gets him excited.

"My parents are coming. I think half my high school will be up here," he said. "A whole bunch of people are coming. It's going to be a thrilling game. I don't know how to describe it."

Moore, as you would expect, grew up watching the Longhorns. There isn't anything he doesn't know about them and their program – including the fact that he didn't hear from them when it was time for him to head to college.

"I've been watching Texas since I was five years old," said Moore, a junior wide receiver in 2012 who as a sophomore last season played in 10 games but recorded only five catches. He did return some punts and kickoffs.

"I know what they're about," Moore continued, talking about UT football. "I know Mack Brown. I'm ready to go out and there beat the Longhorns. I'm ready to play."

Philander Moore
Chuck Rounsaville

He's only caught one pass this season but it was significant. Bo Wallace threw it and Moore caught it, a 25-yard reception in the season opener against Central Arkansas which helped give the Rebels some breathing room at the time. His scoring catch and subsequent Bryson Rose extra point gave UM a 35-20 lead en route to a 49-27 victory.

Moore said he's ready to contribute even more, starting with the game against the hometown Longhorns.

"The first two games I came out and I was a little hesitant with a new system, a new offense," said the former first-team All-American in junior college. "I'm getting more comfortable in it. I'm going to get out there and be more ready and more prepared this week than I was the past two. I've got the game nerves out of the way, and I'm ready to play now."

Moore, who suffered through the 2-10 season of 2011 along with everyone else associated with Rebel football, said he isn't surprised Ole Miss is playing better and winning games this season. He knew it could happen, and not just this season.

"As a team, we knew that we were capable of this last year," he said. "This year we came out (the first two games) and proved it. So it's built a lot of confidence. It's allowed us to come out here and feel good about ourselves. We've got a swagger, as coach would say. That's what we've got, and that's what we need."

The entire team had already headed from the practice field and into the IPF. Moore and quarterback Barry Brunetti stayed behind to play some pass and catch, to improve their timing, and just get better.

"Me and Barry normally stay after and do something, and we haven't really had a chance to lately," Moore admitted. "But this being such a big game, we told each other we were going to have to make time for this. First one on. Last one off."

Gettin' ready for Texas.

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