LSU Beats No. 3 Ole Miss Throwback-Style, 10-7
Director of Digital Media
BATON ROUGE -- With a combination of relentless rushing and a shutout second half by its ever-improving defense, the 24th-ranked LSU football team overcame a slew of mistakes and came back to knock off No. 3-ranked Ole Miss, 10-7, on a Homecoming Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.
LSU (7-2, 3-2 SEC) put together scoring drives of 90- and 95-yards at the end of the second and fourth quarter, respectively, to bring the previously undefeated Rebels to their knees.
"You might have thought it was a middle-1970s game," LSU head coach Les Miles said just before asking how many rushes his team attempted. The Tigers ran 55 times for 264 yards against the nation's fifth-best rushing defense (97 yards per game entering the night).
Miles was presented the game ball by his team on the day after learning that his 91-year-old mother, Martha, died.
Trailing 7-3 in a field-position, back-and-forth test of wills, the Tigers broke through for a go-ahead 3-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Anthony Jennings to tight end Logan Stokes with 5:07 remaining in the game.
LSU buried Ole Miss senior quarterback Bo Wallace's fourth-down run at the LSU 47 to take over with 1:44 to play, punted after a three-and-out and put its defense back on the field for one final stop in the last 99 seconds.
Wallace, who was harassed by the Tigers into 14-of-33 passing, converted a fourth-and-8 to keep his final drive alive and reached the LSU 25 with nine seconds to play. While mulling its options, Ole Miss was flagged for a critical delay-of-game penalty as it lined up for a game-tying 42-yard field goal. LSU took a timeout to prepare for the play and Ole Miss put its offense back on the field for a final shot at the endzone.
Wallace's pass to the left-front corner of the endzone was intercepted by Ronald Martin with two seconds to go, sending the stadium into a frenzy similar to Billy Cannon's 1959 Halloween run or Bert Jones to Brad Davis in 1972.
Only this time, it was 102,321 Tiger fans who can claim to have been there when the LSU put a first blemish on the Ole Miss ledger. Thousands poured out of their seats and onto the field following the victory - which will draw a $5,000 fine from the SEC.
Despite four turnovers including a fumble at the 1-yard line, LSU held the ball for 36 minutes by ramming holes in the Rebels defense with its talented running corps. Freshman Leonard Fournette had 113 yards on 23 carries, while Terrence Magee added 74 on 12 carries. Kenny Hilliard had 50 of his 63 yards in the fourth quarter.
Jennings was 8-of-16 passing for 142 yards and the game-winning touchdown. He wasn't sacked but threw two interceptions on long passes into Ole Miss territory. Magee and Fournette each had two catches out of the backfield for 87 combined yards. Wide receiver Trey Quinn added two grabs for 41 yards.
Ole Miss (7-1, 4-1 SEC), which entered Tiger Stadium undefeated for the first time since 1963, exited with its sixth loss in its past seven trips to Baton Rouge.
Wallace was sacked twice and threw his first interception in SEC play this season. Twelve of his 33 passes were knocked away by LSU defenders, as he threw for 176 yards and a touchdown. Wallace led Ole Miss with 40 rushing yards on 12 carries. I'Tavius Mathers had 35 and Jaylen Walton added 29.
Laquon Treadwell had 71 yards on four catches, while Cody Core added four receptions for 45 yards including the 15-yard touchdown that Ole Miss stood behind for most of the contest.
The Rebels ran 34 times for 137 yards, but had only 36 net rushing yards on 19 carries in the second half.
LSU won the coin toss and elected to defer its decision until the second half. While defending the south endzone, the Tigers kicked off to Ole Miss to open the contest.
With the capacity crowd getting in tune, the game started just to LSU's liking. Wallace was chased out of the pocket by defensive end Danielle Hunter and sacked by cornerback Tre'Davious White on third-and-9, forcing the Rebels to punt from its 45.
A 30-yard punt had an LSU bounce and was downed at the LSU 25, where Jennings and the Tigers began their first drive. A third-and-6 conversion by Jennings on short pass to Magee went for 32 yards to the Ole Miss 39, and Jennings backed it up an 11-yard pass to Dural to the 28.
LSU's series of unfortunate events in the first half began after a third-and-1 run by Fournette was stopped prematurely by an official's whistle. Though he earned the first down, his second effort on the play would have put the Tigers inside the 5. Instead, LSU had consecutive incomplete passes from the 12 before Colby Delahoussaye missed only the second field goal of his career from 28 yards.
On the first play by Ole Miss, Core took a handoff and went 30 yards around the left end to midfield. A short run by backup quarterback Jeremy Liggins gave the Rebels another first down at the LSU 38 before the Tigers earned another defensive stop. On third-and-1, Mathers was stopped by Davon Godchaux and Kwon Alexander for a 1-yard loss and a fourth-and-2 throw from Wallace sailed out of Walton's reach.
The Tigers took over on downs at their 30 and started another march deep into LSU territory. Two Magee runs went for a first down before Jennings sat in the pocket and connected with Fournette dashed through the middle of the field for a 40-yard catch-and-run. The career-long catch put LSU at the Rebels 20, while Fournette found a hole on the right end created by fullback Connor Neighbors, pulling guard Ethan Pocic and tackle Vadal Alexander for 14 yards to the 3. However, a first-and-goal run from the 3 was fumbled at the 1 by Fournette and recovered by Ole Miss in the endzone.
The Rebels made LSU pay for the mistake on the ensuing drive, as Wallace used passes of 43 to Walton - which was an 80-yard touchdown called back for stepping out of bounds by video review - and 27 to Treadwell to the LSU 10. LSU had a chance to quell the Rebel uprising on second-and-goal when Jalen Collins dropped a throw-back pass from running back Jordan Wilkins to Wallace inside the LSU 5. After a false start, Wallace connected with Core for a 15-yard touchdown on third-and-goal to put the Rebels on the scoreboard.
Ole Miss led 7-0 with seven seconds left in the first quarter.
A 32-yard kickoff return by Fournette and a first-down run by Magee put LSU at its 44 early in the second quarter, but another fumble after an 8-yard run by Magee was recovered by Ole Miss at the Rebels 48.
Mathers began the drive with a 13-yard run to the LSU 39, but a pair of penalties on the Rebels brought back a touchdown run and forced a third-and-7 from the 36. Wallace's pass was batted down by Kendell Beckwith and Will Gleeson entered to punt for Ole Miss.
Starting from its 6, LSU collected six first downs and completed its longest drive of the season - 9:07 on 17 plays. But again, LSU was stopped inside the Ole Miss 5-yard line when wide receiver Malachi Dupre was ruled out of bounds on a third-down touchdown catch. This time, Delahoussaye's 21-yard field goal into the south endzone was true.
LSU narrowed its deficit to 7-3 with 2:47 left in the half.
Wallace and the Rebels gained two first downs and moved to their 39 but went no further and punted on the second-to-last play of the half.
Fournette ran the second-half kickoff 25 yards to the LSU 32 and Jennings added 22 more with a pass to Quinn along the right sideline. A fumbled snap by Jennings stopped the Tigers in their tracks, and Keehn punted to the Ole Miss 2.
Though LSU forced a punt from its 43 on the drive, the Rebels were able to get out of the endzone's shadow and flip the field on LSU when White fair caught the punt at his 4.
Three plays later, LSU was three yards short of its first down and Jamie Keehn's punt went off the side of his foot for 23 yards.
Once again, the LSU defense stepped up and came up with a big stop. Starting from the LSU 34, Mathers was stuffed by Jermauria Rasco and Quentin Thomas for a 2-yard loss. Another tackle for loss by Beckwith and a 5-yard sack of Wallace by Rasco and Hunter pushed Ole Miss out of field goal range and forced a punt. Gleeson's effort was downed again at the LSU 4.
After gaining a first down with an 11-yard run by Hilliard, Jennings' third-and-8 pass deep along the right sideline was intercepted by Senquez Golson at the Ole Miss 49.
A dead-ball personal foul on Golson gave the Rebels possession at its 34, but the Rebels went backward and Gary Wunderlich entered for a 54-yard punt to the LSU 17.
Neither offense managed a first down on consecutive drives, with LSU starting the ensuing drive at its 25.
Jennings completed a 20-yard pass to Quinn, but another look in the freshman wide receiver's direction was intercepted along the left sideline by Mike Hilton at the Ole Miss 35.
For the fourth-straight drive, LSU's defense sent Ole Miss' offense off the field after three plays and a punt. The Rebels netted minus-23 yards, while the Tigers defense gained momentum and kept the LSU faithful on the edge of its seat.
The LSU offense picked up on the momentum, putting together an adrenaline-fueled,13-play, 95-yard scoring drive. Hilliard pieced together runs of two, 18 and eight yards to get the Tigers loose from the south endzone. A 6-yard run by fullback Melvin Jones gave LSU another first down to the LSU 39, and Hilliard came back for another 16-yard run across midfield to the Ole Miss 45.
The running attack continued, as LSU leaned on the Rebels for four more runs including a 1-yard run by Hilliard on fourth-and-1 from the 36. Fournette broke through the line for 22 yards to the 13 and was only stopped on his next attempt when Ole Miss' Serderius Bryant snapped the face mask off Fournette's helmet at the 7. After the penalty spotted the ball at the 3, a dive by Jones went for no gain. For the first time in the 13-play drive, Jennings faked a handoff and spotted Stokes running free in the right side of the endzone for a 3-yard touchdown catch that probably shook the Earth around Tiger Stadium once again.
Stokes' catch was the first of his LSU career, and one few will forget.
At halftime, Bradley Williams of Lafayette, Louisiana, and Chi Nguyen of Larose, Louisiana, were named LSU's Homecoming King and Queen.
Prior to the game, it was announced that Miles' mother Martha died on Friday night at 91. LSU sends its condolences to the Miles family.
Statement Issued on Death in Stadium
Late in the fourth quarter of tonight’s LSU’s football game against Ole Miss, an adult male suffered a heart attack in the lower bowl of the south endzone at Tiger Stadium. Emergency medical personnel responded to the incident but efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. LSU offers its condolences to his family.