Jefferson, Ridley Lift No. 5 LSU Past Ole Miss
LSU Sports Interactive
BATON ROUGE -- Jordan Jefferson threw for a career-best 254 yards and Stevan Ridley ran for three touchdowns as the No. 5-ranked LSU football team came back three times in the final 20 minutes to beat rival Ole Miss, 43-36, at Tiger Stadium.
LSU (10-1, 6-1 SEC) completed an undefeated season in Tiger Stadium for the 13th time in school history. The Tigers also won 10 games for the fourth time in six seasons under head coach Les Miles.
The Tigers will complete the regular season against No. 13-ranked Arkansas in Little Rock on Saturday, Nov. 27, at 2:30 p.m. CT on CBS.
LSU had lost its past two games against Ole Miss (4-7, 1-6 SEC). The loss took the Rebels out of bowl eligibility with one game remaining in the regular season.
Jefferson completed 13-of-17 passes including a 27-yard option-turned-shuffle-pass to running back Michael Ford. The Tigers starting quarterback also ran nine times for 45 yards with a 3-yard score. He had a two-point conversion that gave LSU the final advantage, capping LSU's 20-point performance in the fourth quarter.
Ridley ran 18 times for 89 yards and scored three times for the first time as a Tiger. Ford finished with nine carries for 58 yards.
Seven Tigers had at least 20 yards receiving, led by tight end Deangelo Peterson with 76 yards on three catches and wide receiver Rueben Randle with 51 yards on a pair of grabs. Peterson was twice tackled inside the 2-yard line on long receptions.
LSU's 470 yards of total offense was the most since the Tigers had 497 against Georgia on Oct. 25, 2008 -- a span of 30 games.
Ole Miss' offense used the same approach as No. 2 Auburn applied in LSU's only loss in 2010 -- put the ball in the hands of an elusive quarterback and a tough running back, and use the Tigers aggressive, blitzing nature against them.
The Rebels rolled up 420 yards of total offense including 236 on the ground, as Rebels quarterback Jeremiah Masoli waited for an alley before chosing his route or getting rid of the ball.
Masoli scored twice on the ground and once through the air -- a 65-yard pass and run on a busted coverage. Masoli added 64 net yards rushing on 11 carries. Ole Miss running back Brandon Bolden, a Baton Rouge native, also scored twice and tallied 91 yards on 18 carries.
The seesaw game included four-consecutive failed two-point conversions before Jefferson's successful run with 44 seconds remaining that gave the Tigers the final advantage.
With a field goal kicker who had limited range -- a season long of 41 -- Ole Miss used all four downs when it entered LSU territory. The Rebels converted their first four fourth-down conversions.
A 24-yard pass to Ja-Mes Logan on fourth-and-10 at the LSU 35 led to a field goal that tied the game at 10-10; another connection with Logan on fourth-and-8 pass that led to a Masoli 4-yard touchdown run just before halftime, cutting the LSU lead to 20-17; a 2-yard run by Masoli on fourth-and-1 at the LSU 35 on a drive that gave the Rebels their first lead in the third quarter, 24-23; and a 7-yard run by Bolden on fourth-and-1 from the LSU 34 that later put Ole Miss ahead 30-29 with 7:30 to play.
Ole Miss had a chance to go 5-for-5 on fourth-down plays in LSU territory, but elected to have Masoli punt on fourth-and-6 from the 40 after getting a turnover with a one-point lead in the the quarter.
Fortunately for LSU, the Rebels go-for-it menality came to an end in the game's final drive. A fourth-down heave by Masoli as time expired was intercepted by LSU junior cornerback Patrick Peterson at the LSU 33.
After winning the coin toss and deferring its decision until the second half, LSU kicked off to Ole Miss to start the game. On the fourth play of the drive, LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu batted Masoli's pass in the air and defensive end Lavar Edwards intercepted the ball at the Ole Miss 36. Edwards' 17-yard return to the 19 setup the Tigers first score, a 2-yard run by Ridley. Two minutes into the contest, LSU led 7-0.
A 41-yard kickoff return by Jeff Scott jump-started the Ole Miss offense, and the Rebels wasted no time getting the ball in Bolden's hands. On the first play, the junior running back ran 50 yards around the left end to tie the game at 7-7.
Jefferson started another LSU scoring drive with a 23-yard pass to wide receiver Chris Tolliver. In the Ole Miss redzone, Ridley came up a yard short on third down and senior placekicker Josh Jasper came on to kick a 31-yard field goal that gave LSU a 10-7 lead with 8:08 left in the opening quarter.
Ole Miss again answered the score with the fourth-down, 24-yard completion to Logan. Masoli's third-down rushing attempt in the LSU redzone came up short and Bryson Rose tacked tied the game again, 10-10, with 4:20 remaining in the quarter.
The teams traded punts for the first time, and LSU took over at its 30-yard line. Jefferson began the drive with a 22-yard pass to Russell Shepard, then ran 14 yards to the Ole Miss 34 before hooking up with Deangelo Peterson for 32 yards to the 2. Ridley pounded the line for his second score and a 17-10 lead early in the second quarter.
The Tigers gained momentum with a defensive stop, and Patrick Peterson returned a 69-yard punt 17 yards to the LSU 32. Jefferson again connected with Deangelo Peterson for 40 yards to the Ole Miss 1, but couldn't find the endzone on three Ridley runs. Jasper's 25-yard field goal was true, giving LSU a 20-10 lead but surrendering the offensive momentum.
Later in the half, Ole Miss running back Enrique Davis had a 30-yard run to midfield. The Rebels then converted their second fourth down with a 13-yard pass from Masoli to Logan to the LSU 21. A pass interference call on LSU gave the Rebels first-and-goal at the 4, and Masoli scooted into the endzone to get the Rebels within three, 20-17, with 27 seconds left in the half.
LSU's defense began the second half with another big takeaway when Masoli was sacked by cornerback Ron Brooks, dropped the ball and LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis covered it at the Ole Miss 12. However, after Ford was ruled out of bounds 14 yards into a 54-yard touchdown run, the Tigers again weren't able to find paydirt. Jasper was called upon for his third field goal, and the 24-yarder put the Tigers ahead 23-16.
Settling for three pointers caught up with Tigers, as Ole Miss gained its first lead on a penalty-riddled defensive drive by LSU. Masoli converted the Rebels' third fourth-down at the LSU 35 and Bolden scored from 3 yards to put Ole Miss ahead 24-23 with 4:34 left in the third quarter.
Ole Miss had an opportunity to add to its lead when LSU freshman up-back Luke Muncie fielded and fumbled the ensuing kickoff after taking a big hit at the LSU 40. The LSU defense stiffened, and Masoli elected to punt rather than go for another fourth-and-6 at the LSU 40.
Jefferson led the Tigers to an eight-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard run by the junior quarterback and was the first of five-straight touchdowns in the game. Jefferson's 39-yard pass to Randle on third-and-16 kept the drive alive, and a 21-yard pass to tight end Chase Clement setup the score.
LSU led 30-29 after a failed two-point pass.
Masoli's 65-yard pass to Summers came on a blown blitz coverage in the Tigers secondary and Ole Miss regained the lead, 36-35. Summers was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct before Masoli's rushing attempt for two points came up short.
The penalty proved costly, as Patrick Peterson returned the kickoff 34 yards to the LSU 49. With the 4:52 to play, Ford and Jefferson combined for five runs and 31 yards rushing to the Ole Miss 20. Ridley's 6-yard run to the 14 gave LSU third-and-1 and Ole Miss called its final timeout with 1:29 left.
Ridley rumbled for seven yards to the 7, and scored with 44 seconds to play to give LSU a 41-36 lead. Jefferson's two-point run gave the Tigers the final margin.