Ole Miss at LSU

LSU beats Ole Miss to keep slim hopes for SEC title alive

CBSSports.com wire reports

BATON ROUGE, La. -- In a joyous, raving, almost delirious rant, Les Miles gushed over his team's inexorable determination and urged LSU fans to put their arms around his players and "give them a big kiss on the mouth."

Miles is known to get a little loopy and emotional at times, so his comments hardly seemed out of character after a classic contest with historical rival Ole Miss that even evoked memories of Billy Cannon's famous Halloween night punt return in 1959.

Jeremy Hill scored his third touchdown with 15 seconds left to lift the Tigers to a 41-35 victory over relentless but mistake-prone Mississippi on Saturday.

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"I'm proud of those men," Miles said of his team. "How easy it could of have been to say it was (Ole Miss') night. Spectacular group of men. ... Wow! What a game!"

The game included seven turnovers, numerous momentum swings and long touchdowns, perhaps none better than Odell Beckham Jr.'s 89-yard punt return for a score that evoked memories of Cannon's famous return against the same team, along the same sideline, for the same yardage back in 1959.

"That was maybe the biggest momentum changer in the game," Miles said, adding giddily, "Is it Halloween night?"

Beckham eluded numerous tacklers, slipping one as he traversed the field, then broke away from pursuers down the right sideline toward the north end zone while teammate Jarvis Landry waved him along with windmill motion.

"Everyone had their block, everyone had their man and everyone covered their assignments," Beckham said. "I saw a crease and I just hit it. ... It was an amazing experience and definitely changed the momentum of the game."

Beckham's return tied the game at 35, but LSU (9-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) still needed a pair of clutch sacks by Anthony Johnson and Lavar Edwards to drive Ole Miss (5-6, 2-5) out of routine field goal range later in the fourth quarter. Bryson Rose then pushed a 53-yard kick wide right, setting up the winning drive.

Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace passed for 310 yards and two TDs and ran for two scores, but also was intercepted three times. His touchdowns went Donte Moncrief, the first for 56 yards and the second for 30. Wallace's first score came on a 58-yard run.

"I've been coaching a long time, maybe not at this level, but this here is one of the most difficult locker rooms to be in this year," first-year coach Hugh Freeze said. "Our kids just fought for our university and our fans and they should be proud of that. We just can't seem to get that stop when we have to have one, or that touchdown when we have to have one."

Zach Mettenberger completed 22 of 37 passes for 282 yards and was intercepted twice. Hill finished with 77 yards rushing, including a 27 yard run for his first TD. Spencer Ware had LSU's other touchdown on a leap over the pile on fourth-and-goal from the 1.

"I never thought at any point we were going to lose that game," Mettenberger said. "We had control of the game. We had a couple of turnovers but we had been driving the ball well all night and the passing game was there. We just have to clean up the turnovers and we still won. Hopefully we can go into next week against Arkansas and do the same thing."

LSU heads into that game still technically alive for an SEC title - if the Tigers beat the Razorbacks, while Texas A&M beats Missouri and Auburn upsets Alabama. That would create a three-way tie in the SEC West that LSU would win.

The Ole Miss turnovers gave LSU multiple opportunities to seize control, but the Tigers had three drives stall inside the Mississippi 10. Two of them ended with field goals and another with Senquez Golson's interception in the end zone, a play that allowed the Rebels to cling to a 21-20 lead in the third quarter.

"Everything we were doing was working," Wallace said. "We executed for the most part, but there were still times that we were shooting ourselves in the foot. We have to eliminate that."

Mississippi then widened its lead to 28-20 on a drive set up by Golson's second interception. Randall Mackey's 6-yard scoring run capped it.

LSU rallied to tie it on Hill's 1-yard touchdown run around the left side and a 2-point conversion on Mettenberger's pass to Ware, but the Rebels marched right back down the field in 28 seconds to regain the lead, 35-28, on Wallace's pass to Moncrief along the left sideline.

That, however, would be the final points for a Mississippi team that is one win from bowl eligibility and made it clear early on it was not going to lay down against an LSU team favored by more than two touchdowns.

"We should have had it. We let it slip away," Mackey said. "We're just tired of losing. We came ready to play."

Ole Miss took a 21-17 lead into halftime after Wallace converted a fourth-and-3 with a 20-yard pass to Logan, then hit Logan again for 25 yards before keeping the ball for his second rushing TD of the game from the 1.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger completes 22 of 37 passes for 282 yards but is intercepted twice. (Getty Images)
LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger completes 22 of 37 passes for 282 yards but is intercepted twice. (Getty Images)

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Scoring Summary
MISSBo Wallace 58 yd run (Bryson Rose kick)
LSUJeremy Hill 27 yd run (Drew Alleman kick)
MISSDonte Moncrief 56 yd pass from Bo Wallace (Bryson Rose kick)
LSUDrew Alleman 22 yd FG
LSUSpencer Ware 1 yd run (Drew Alleman kick)
MISSBo Wallace 1 yd run (Bryson Rose kick)
LSUDrew Alleman 24 yd FG
MISSRandall Mackey 6 yd run (Bryson Rose kick)
LSUJeremy Hill 1 yd run (Spencer Ware 2pt pass from Zach Mettenberger)
MISSDonte Moncrief 30 yd pass from Bo Wallace (Bryson Rose kick)
LSUOdell Beckham 89 yd punt return (Drew Alleman kick)
LSUJeremy Hill 1 yd run (failed 2pt rush)
Team Stats
First Downs2021
Third Down Efficiency8-197-17
Fourth Down Efficiency2-21-1
Plays-Net Yards78-46376-427
Passing Yds316282
Kick Return Yds8462
Punt Return Yds2109
Time of Poss.27:5332:7
Individual Stats
MISS: Bo Wallace 11-54, Randall Mackey 9-41, Jeff Scott 12-39, Barry Brunetti 8-15, Carlos Davis 1--2
LSU: Jeremy Hill 20-77, Spencer Ware 8-55, Michael Ford 4-20, J.C. Copeland 1-0, Russell Shepard 1-0, Kenny Hilliard 1--1, Zach Mettenberger 3--6
MISS: Bo Wallace 15-35-310-3, Barry Brunetti 1-2-6-0
LSU: Zach Mettenberger 22-37-282-2, Stephen Rivers 0-1-0-0
MISS: Donte Moncrief 6-161, Ja-Mes Logan 3-53, Randall Mackey 3-44, Vince Sanders 2-42, Jeff Scott 1-7, Jamal Mosley 1-3, Tanner Burns 0-9, Barry Brunetti 0-7, Pierce Burton 0--10
LSU: Travis Dickson 5-69, Jarvis Landry 4-60, Spencer Ware 4-16, James Wright 3-64, Kadron Boone 3-51, Odell Beckham 2-13, Jeremy Hill 1-9
Ole Miss7th SEC West2-65-7
LSU2nd SEC West5-38-4

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