Tigers Late Surge Comes Up Short at Ole Miss

LSU's Rueben Randle caught two touchdown passes
LSU's Rueben Randle caught two touchdown passes
Steve Franz
LSUsports.net (@LSUsports)
LSUsports.net (@LSUsports)
LSU Sports Interactive

OXFORD, Miss. -- A 43-yard "Hail Mary" catch by LSU wide receiver Terrance Toliver with one second to play came up five yards short, as the Tigers ran out of time and fell to rival Ole Miss, 25-23, on Saturday.

LSU (8-3, 4-3 SEC) finishes the 2009 regular season on Saturday, Nov. 28, when Arkansas comes to Tiger Stadium for a 6 p.m. CST kickoff on ESPN.

Ole Miss improved to 8-3 overall and 4-3 in SEC play.

Trailing 25-17 with 3:32 to play, quarterback Jordan Jefferson led the Tigers to a 10-play, 66-yard scoring drive that ended with a 25-yard touchdown pass to freshman receiver Rueben Randle. The two-point conversion pass to Toliver failed, but LSU got a second change after a defensive penalty. Toliver wasn't able to handle the same pass from Jefferson in-bounds on the next attempt from the 1.

LSU's Brandon LaFell came up with the ensuing onside kick by Josh Jasper, and the Tigers were in business with 1:16 to play.

Jefferson connected with LaFell for 26 yards to the Ole Miss 32, putting the Tigers in field goal range for Jasper. However, a sack and a screen netted 16 yards in lost yardage, and the Tigers were seemingly down to one play. LSU led the clock run down to nine seconds before calling its final timeout.

Jefferson heaved a pass to a cluster of LSU receivers and Toliver came down with a 45-yard catch to the Ole Miss 5-yard line with a second to play.

Without any timeouts and stunned by the turn of events, the Tigers attempted to spike the ball rather than run a play to the endzone or get the field goal unit in position before the clock restarted.

Jefferson finished 19-of-37 passing for 250 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He was sacked four times for 32 yards.

LSU senior running back Keiland Williams finished with 11 carries for 40 yards before exiting the game with a season-ending injury. With Williams out, the Tigers have lost their top three running backs on the preseason depth chart to injury Charles Scott, Williams, and Richard Murphy.

Toliver led the receiving corps with five catches for 105 yards, while LaFell added five receptions for 75 yards.

Ole Miss' Dexter McCluster led the Rebels with 148 yards on 24 carries. Though he didn't cross the goal line, he threw a 27-yard halfback pass for a touchdown that gave Ole Miss the lead for good.

Starting quarterback Jevan Sneed was 14-of-21 passing for 206 yards. His favorite target was Shay Hodge who had seven catches for 117 yards and the touchdown grab from McCluster.

Trailing 3-0 in the first quarter, Jefferson threw an interception that was returned 40 yards for a touchdown. However, the return was shortened by an illegal block and the Rebels were penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.

After having a touchdown pass called back when wide receiver Shay Hodge stepped out of bounds before the reception, the Rebels 45-yard field goal attempt was blocked by LSU defensive tackle Al Woods. Peterson picked up the ball at the Ole Miss 47 and returned it for a touchdown that gave the Tigers a 7-3 lead with 7:52 left in the first quarter.

The turn of fortune changed the tone of the first half.

Ole Miss used an eight-play, 62-yard drive to tack on another field by Joshua Shene. The 25-yard attempt cut the Tigers advantage to 7-6 with 3:37 left in the quarter.

LSU answered with an impressive drive after a 41-yard kickoff return by Ron Brooks. Williams gained 13 yards to get into Ole Miss territory, and Jefferson connected with LaFell out of the back field for 13 yards to the Ole Miss 13. After two negative plays, Jefferson stood in the pocket and took a big hit as he connected with Randle for a 17-yard touchdown.

With 11 seconds left in the opening quarter, LSU led 14-6.

The teams traded field goals of 33 yards by Shene and 50 yards by LSU's Josh Jasper. LSU maintained a 17-9 lead with 2:15 left.

LSU attempted to catch the Rebels off guard with an on-side kick, however, Peterson's foot was on the out-of-bounds line when he caught the kick. The kick out-of-bounds penalty gave Ole Miss possession at the LSU 47.

Completions of 13 and 26 yards to Hodge put the Rebels at the LSU 8. On third-and-goal from the 3, Jesse Grandy scored on an end around. The two-point conversion failed and LSU took a 17-15 lead to the half.

After a series of punts to open the half, Ole Miss took the lead for the first time since the first quarter. The Rebels punting changed field position with a punt downed at the LSU 1 and led to a short Rebels scoring drive.

Starting at the LSU 44, Hodge caught an 11-yard pass for a first down. After a 6-yard gain by McCluster, the speedy back took the handoff and threw his first pass of the year to Hodge who was wide open behind the defense. The 27-yard score gave Ole Miss a 22-17 lead with 13:33 to play.

Shene added his fourth field goal of the game, this time from 23 yards, after a 15-play, 60-yard drive by Ole Miss that took 8:26 off the clock.

With 3:42 left in the game, LSU trailed 25-17 and were set to complete an amazing comeback when time ran out.

LSU vs. Ole Miss
Nov. 21, 2009 Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (Oxford, Miss.)
Postgame Notes

Team Notes
1. LSU’s game captains were 97 Al Woods, 68 Josh Dworaczyk, 91 Charles Alexander, 8 Trindon Holliday and 30 Josh Jasper.
2. LSU won the toss and deferred to the second half. Ole Miss received the opening kickoff.
3. LSU players wore a sticker on the back left of each helmet with the initials “DR” for Dr. Bob Rivet who died Monday at the age of 76. Rivet served as a team doctor for the LSU football team for more than 20 years.
4. Tigers extending their notable consecutive starts streak today were: LT Ciron Black (50), OG Lyle Hitt (31), LB Harry Coleman (24) and RT Joseph Barksdale (24).
5. Tigers making their first career starts today: TE Tyler Edwards. LSU has now used 14 first-time starters in 2009.
6. LSU blocked a field goal attempt by Ole Miss’ Joshua Shene with 7:52 to go in the first quarter and returned it for a touchdown. The last time LSU blocked a field goal was Nov. 8, 2008 when Ricky Jean-Francois blocked an attempt by Alabama.
a. It marked the first time LSU blocked a field goal attempt and returned it for a touchdown since Mario Stephenson returned a block 55 yards for a TD at Arizona State on Sept. 10, 2005.
7. This was the seventh straight game Georgia, Florida, Auburn, Tulane, Alabama, Louisiana Tech and Ole Miss LSU did not allow a first-quarter touchdown.
8. LSU’s Brandon LaFell recovered an onside kick in the fourth quarter. It marked the first recovered onside kick for LSU since Dec. 31, 2008 when the Tigers completed a successful onside kick against Georgia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. LSU is now 1-for-1 on onside kicks this season.
9. Despite the loss LSU still leads the all-time series against Ole Miss, 55-39-4.

Individual Notes
10. DT Al Woods blocked a field goal attempt by Joshua Shene in the first quarter. It was the first blocked kick of his career.
11. CB Patrick Peterson returned a blocked field goal 53 yards for a touchdown with 7:52 left in the first quarter. It marked his second career touchdown. His first TD came on a 37-yard interception return at Mississippi State.
12. QB Jordan Jefferson tossed his 13th touchdown pass of the season and 17th of his career on a 17-yard pass to Rueben Randle with 0:11 left in the first quarter.
a. Jefferson fired his second touchdown pass of the game (14th of the season, 18th of his career) to Randle with 1:17 left in the game.
13. WR Rueben Randle hauled in his first career touchdown reception on a 17-yard pass from Jordan Jefferson with 0:11 left in the first quarter. It was the eighth catch of his career.
a. Randle caught his second touchdown pass of the game and of his career on a 25-yard strike from Jefferson with 1:17 left in the game.
14. PK Josh Jasper connected on a 50-yard field goal with 6:23 remaining in the second quarter. It was his second career FG of 50 yards or more. His career long was a 52-yarder against Louisiana-Lafayette this season.
15. WR Brandon LaFell has now caught a pass in 39 straight games (38 of those multiple-reception games) dating back to the 2007 Sugar Bowl versus Notre Dame.  
a. LaFell’s streak is the fifth longest streak in the nation. Central Michigan’s Bryan Anderson leads the nation with 51 consecutive games with a catch.
16. DB Karnell Hatcher shattered his previous career high of 3 total tackles by racking up 10 tackles against Ole Miss.




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