After Comeback, Football Can't Keep Up at Ole Miss

LSU's Leonard Fournette had 180 yards from scrimmage
LSU's Leonard Fournette had 180 yards from scrimmage
Steve Franz
Todd Politz (@tpolitz)
Todd Politz (@tpolitz)
Director of Digital Media

BATON ROUGE -- After No. 17 LSU cut a 24-0 deficit to a touchdown, No. 25 Ole Miss engineered consecutive scoring drives to hand the Tigers a third-straight defeat, 38-17, on Saturday in Oxford's Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

LSU (7-3, 4-3 SEC) will wrap up the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 28, at 6:30 p.m. CT when Texas A&M comes to Tiger Stadium. The game will be televised by the SEC Network and broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Ole Miss built a 24-point lead before halftime before the Tigers answered with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Harris to freshman wide receiver Tyron Johnson. LSU scored a field goal on its first drive of the second half and then turned a fumble on the ensuing kickoff into a touchdown to pull within seven, 24-17.

Ole Miss (8-3, 5-2 SEC) answered LSU's 17-unanswered points with 14 of its own before the end of the third quarter to regain control of the contest.

The Tigers have lost three-straight games for the first time since 1999.

Running back Leonard Fournette ran for more than 100 yards for the eighth time in 2015, as he finished with 108 yards rushing on 25 carries. Fournette also set career-bests for receptions (four) and receiving yards (72), with a career-long of 46 in the first quarter.

Through 10 games, he's moved within 104 yards of LSU's single-season rushing record.

Harris set career-highs passing, completing 26-of-51 passes for 324 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He added six rushes for 60 yards.

Malachi Dupre was LSU's leading receiver with six catches for 55 yards, while Johnson had five catches for 83 yards, and tight end Colin Jeter caught four passes for 46 yards.

Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly scored four touchdowns to lead the Rebels to victory. He was 19-of-34 passing for 280 yards with two scores and rushed 12 times for 81 yards with TD runs of 5 and 11 yards.

LSU was outgained, 508-432.

Blow-by-Blow Recap

LSU won the coin toss for the eighth-straight game and elected to defer its decision until the second half. The Tigers kicked off with a stiff northwest wind at its back.

After a 18-yard kickoff return by Ole Miss' Jaylen Walton, Kelly immediately looked deep and connected with junior slot receiver Quincy Adeboyejo for a 57-yard catch and run to the LSU 24-yard line. The drive stalled at the LSU 15 when LSU defensive tackle Devon Godchaux and linebacker Kendall Beckwith combined for a stop of Kelly on a quarterback sneak. The Rebels connected on a Gary Wunderlich 32-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 12:41 remaining in the first quarter.

On LSU's first possession, the Tigers committed five penalties including a holding call on freshman guard Maea Teuhema that nullified Fournette's 59-yard run to the Ole Miss 33.

Both Jamie Keehn and Rebels punter Will Gleeson traded punts, and LSU took over at its 17 trailing 3-0 midway through the first quarter. LSU's defense had forced a quick three-and-out as linebacker Deion Jones stiffed out a pass attempt on an end around by wide receiver Laquon Treadwell that went for a 5-yard loss.

LSU took over at its 17 and earned a first down with a 16-yard pass to freshman fullback Bry'Kiethon Mouton, who came out of the backfield and took the pass along the left sideline before behind pushed out of bounds and undercutting LSU coach Les Miles. Miles bounced up as a flag for a block in the back was waived off.

On third-and-4 from the LSU 39, Fournette took a pass from the backfield, tipped it to himself before securing the catch, side=stepped an attempted tackle by Ole Miss cornerback Kendarius Webster at the LSU 41 and was in a foot race along the sideline before being brought down at the Ole Miss 15 for a 46-yard gain.

Harris' third-and-5 pass intended for wide receiver Travin Dural was high and the Tiger didn't return to the game after landing on his back. Placekicker Trent Domingue pulled a 27-yard field goal to the left.

The teams again traded punts, with Keehn's effort from the Ole Miss 37 landing in the endzone. Kelly took advantage of the mistake - and Tre'Davious White's attempted interception - with a 27-yard pass to Treadwell on the second play of the drive. Another 20-yard reception by Stringfellow setup a first down at the LSU 25. Akeem Judd ran twice for 12 yards to the LSU 13, and the Tigers were flagged for the sixth tijme when White interfered with Treadwell in the endzone. Walton completed the scoring drive with a 2-yard run, and Ole Miss led 10-0 with 12:30 left in the half.

LSU's attempt to answer the score was foiled by another penalty, this time a false start that brought back a first-down run by Fournette. A run-blitz on third-and-3 resulted in a loss of three on a carry by Fournette and Keehn entered for his third punt.

Kelly completed two passes of 16 yards to Judd and Cody Core to the LSU 27 before adding an 11-yard run to the 16 and a 14-yard pass to Stringfellow to the LSU 2. After a false start, the Rebels quarterback ran around the right end for a 6-yard touchdown. With 7:13 left in the half, Ole Miss led 17-0.

Following a pair of punts, Harris was intercepted by Ole Miss senior linebacker Christian Russell after senior cornerback Mike Hilton broke up a pass intended for Dupre. Russell returned the interception 36 yards before being dragged down by wide receiver John Diarse. On the next play, Kelly and Treadwell connected for an 11-yard touchdown. Ole Miss extended its lead to 24-0.

The Tigers put points on the board on its final drive of the half, spanning 75 yards in six plays. A 9-yard pass from Harris to Fournette started the drive. After Fournette picked up the first down, Harris ran 11 yards to the LSU 47. A 12-yard pass to Tyron Johnson earned another first down to the Ole miss 39, setting up a perfectly thrown touchdown pass from Harris to Johnson. LSU trailed 24-7 with 1:14 to play before halftime.

LSU nearly caught a break on the ensuing kickoff when Ole Miss' Walton had the ball knocked away by LSU freshman Isaiah Washington. The Rebels dodged the bullet but punted after a sack by Godchaux. Following a 20-yard punt return by White, LSU had 28 seconds remaining in the half. A 15-yard catch by Dupre moved LSU across midfield, however, a false start was charged when LSU didn't get set before spiking the ball.

LSU went into the lockerroom trailing 24-7. Though Ole Miss was 0-for-5 on third down, the Rebels scored on all four of its red-zone chances, while LSU missed a field goal and had an interception returned to its 11-yard line.

Receiving the opening kickoff in the second half, LSU crossed midfield on a 32-yard run by Forunette to the Ole Miss 32. A 16-yard catch by tight end Colin Jeter setup the long run. However, Harris' third-and-7 pass to Darrel Williams went for only 3. Domingue's 43-yard field goal was true, cutting the Ole Miss advantage to 24-10 with 12:54 to play in the third quarter.

The Tigers momentum continued on the kickoff, as LSU's Nick Brossette knocked the ball from Walton's grasp and Donnie Alexander picked up the loose ball for the Tigers at the Ole Miss 25.

Harris started the drive with an 11-yard pass to Jeter to the 14 before consecutive Fournette runs went for 13 yards to the 1. On third-and-goal from the 2, Fournette carried to the goal line but it was ruled that the ball was knocked from his grasp prior to breaking the plane. LSU guard Will Clapp recovered the fumble and was credited with the touchdown.

LSU narrowed the gap to 24-17 with 10:04, but the Tigers would get no closer.

Ole Miss scored on consecutive possessions to put its advantage to 21. Kelly keyed a seven-play, 83-yard scoring drive and finished it off with an 11-yard touchdown run. Then, following an LSU punt, the Tigers accepted a holding penalty on third-and-4 that pushed Ole Miss out of field goal range but allowed Kelly to complete a third-and-14 touchdown pass to Evan Engram. The Rebels led 38-17.

An interception on a deep pass by Harris was returned by Zedrick Woods from the Ole Miss 14 for 22 yards to the 36. A brief melee ensued but was quickly controlled on the Ole Miss sideline.

LSU had fourth-quarter drives end on downs three times, including stops at the Ole Miss 43 and 1-yard line to thwart another comeback.

Attendance for the game was announced as 60,705.

 

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