Tigers stay on track - win 41-24

The top-ranked LSU football team won for the 18th-straight time in the month of November, getting the better of an offensive battle with rival Ole Miss on Saturday, 41-24, at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

LSU (10-1, 6-1 SEC) recorded its 10th win of the season for the third-consecutive time, a first in school history. The Tigers, who clinched the school's first outright Southeastern Conference Western Division title, will face Arkansas on Friday, Nov. 23, at 1:30 p.m. CST in Tiger Stadium to complete the regular season.

Then, on Dec. 1, LSU will take on either Tennessee or Georgia in the SEC Championship game at 3 p.m. CST in the Georgia Dome. Tennessee needs a win over Kentucky in Lexington to secure its berth. A Tennessee loss would pit the Tigers and Bulldogs in the title game.

Looking to avoid the pitfalls of other top-ranked teams, LSU scored for four rushing touchdowns and answered a punt return touchdown by Ole Miss with a 98-yard kickoff return for a score by Trindon Holliday in the first quarter.

Charles Scott led the platoon of LSU running backs with 66 yards on only three carries including a 29-yard touchdown that capped the scoring late in the contest. Jacob Hester added 65 yards on 13 carries with a 2-yard score, while Keiland Williams carried five times for 41 yards with a 10-yard TD.

LSU quarterback Matt Flynn completed 17-of-25 passes for 168 yards without being intercepted. He scored LSU's first touchdown of the game with a 5-yard run on the Tigers first drive of the game.

His favorite target was Early Doucet, who caught eight passes for 58 yards.

Tigers safety Craig Steltz had two interceptions and five tackles.

Though Ole Miss (3-8, 0-7 SEC) amassed 466 yards of total offense, LSU had an answer each time the Rebels tried to stay within a score. The Rebels close their 2007 season on Friday, Nov. 23, against in-state rival Mississippi State in Starkville.

The yardage was the most against the LSU defense since Sept. 10, 2005, when Arizona State had 560 in Tempe.

After starting Seth Adams, Ole Miss changed the pace of the game by inserting speedy quarterback senior Brent Shaeffer. Shaeffer, who played in four games this season, threw for 208 yards on 13-of-28 passing with two interceptions in the comeback attempt.

However, he was most effective running the ball. With LSU linebacker Darry Beckwith out with an injury, the Tigers had trouble containing Shaeffer, who scampered for a game-high 94 yards on eight carries with a 38-yard touchdown.

He also connected with Shay Hodge for a 33-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Adams played sparingly, completing 4-of-11 passes for 57 yards with an interception in the endzone when he was brought back into the game to end the first half.

Though the Rebels advanced to the Tigers 39-yard line on their first possession, LSU forced a Rebels punt after Adams threw consecutive incomplete passes.

On the ensuing possession, the Tigers started from their own 2-yard line after a downed punt, but put together the second-longest drive in the SEC this season.

LSU used an 11-yard catch by Demetrius Byrd and a 21-yarder by running back Richard Murphy to get out of their endzone's shadow. The Tigers then marched into Rebels territory with runs of 7 and 21 yards by Williams before Flynn kept the ball on a quarterback option to score from the Ole Miss 5.

LSU led 7-0 with 7:37 left in the first quarter.

Ole Miss again pushed the ball into LSU territory, getting all the way to the LSU 2-yard line before Tigers linebacker Jacob Cutrera forced Green-Ellis to fumble. Linebacker Luke Sanders recovered at the LSU 1-yard line.

Special teams quickly became a factor in the game, as LSU was forced to punt from their 10. Patrick Fisher's punt was fielded by Green at the LSU 44, who ran by two over-pursing Tigers down the field and then untouched for a touchdown.

Though the Rebels tied the game at 7-7, it only lasted 14 seconds.

Speedy LSU return man Trindon Holliday took the Ole Miss kickoff at his 2-yard line, broke a pair of tackles then ran all alone down the left sideline for his second career kick return touchdown.

LSU led 14-7 with 3:04 left in the first quarter.

Neither team scored for the duration of the half.

Four penalties plagued the Tigers in the second quarter, while Ole Miss' final 11-play drive of the half ended with a Craig Steltz interception thrown by Adams in the endzone.

To open the second half, LSU again dominated the Rebels on the edges and beat them with their speed.

After a short kickoff was returned to the LSU 46, Flynn connected with Doucet for 14 yards to the Ole Miss 35. On fourth-and-inches from the Ole Miss 26, the Tigers converted their ninth fourth-down of the season on 11 attempts to keep the drive alive. Three plays later, Williams sprinted around the left end for a 10-yard touchdown.

With 10:10 to play in the third quarter, LSU led 21-7.

Ole Miss was able to answer by getting a 35-yard reception and run by running back Bruce Hall to the LSU 11. Consecutive incomplete passes by Shaeffer fell incomplete, and the Rebels settled for a 23-yard field goal by Joshua Shene with 6:51 to play in the quarter.

The Tigers answered with consecutive field goals by Colt David of 48 and 46 yards to go ahead 27-10 with 11:36 to play.

Ole Miss wasn't quiet done offensively, as the Rebels converted two third-and-long plays including a 38-yard scramble for a touchdown by Shaeffer with 9:11 to play.

Trailing 27-17, Ole Miss tried an on-side kick. However, LSU's R.J. Jackson recovered with no problem. LSU couldn't move the ball and were forced to punt.

Faced with second-and-18 after a sack by LSU defensive end Kirston Pittman on Shaeffer in LSU territory, the Ole Miss quarterback threw his first interception of the game. Steltz took the ball at the LSU 23-yard line to the Ole Miss 35 before being corralled. An illegal block by Ole Miss gave the Tigers first-and-10 at the Rebels 20.

Four plays later, Hester ran for a 2-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 34-17 with 3:44 left.

Just as it looked like the game was well in hand, Shaeffer again led the Rebels to a quick scoring drive. He completed a four-play, 68-yard drive with a 33-yard pass to Hodge.

Ole Miss trailed 34-24 with 2:54 left.

Another on-side kick was received by Hester. Two plays later, Scott ran for a 29-yard touchdown to cap the scoring.


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