Randall leads LSU past Ole Miss, 14-13

LSU spotted Ole Miss a 10-0 lead but quarterback Marcus Randall came off the bench and threw two touchdowns in a 14-13 win for the Tigers that keeps them alive for the Southeastern Conference title.

Randall, after taking over for starter Rick Clausen in the second quarter, put LSU on the scoreboard with two seconds to go before halftime with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Devery Henderson.

 

With Ole Miss holding a 13-7 lead in the fourth quarter, the Tigers went into their no-huddle offense and put together a 10-play drive that ended with Randall finding Michael Clayton on a 27-yard scoring play with 6:34 remaining. John Corbello's extra point was the margin of victory.

 

The Rebels had a chance to take back the lead, but LSU cornerback Corey Webster intercepted an Eli Manning pass with 1:51 to play. The Tigers could not run out the rest of the clock and had to punt back to Ole Miss, but a desperation catch-and-lateral play came up short as time expired.

 

"We needed the emotion that we played with in the end to overcome a lot of adversity which (Ole Miss) had a lot to do with," said LSU coach Nick Saban, who ended the Rebels string of three straight wins in Baton Rouge.

 

LSU (8-3, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) committed four turnovers but intercepted Manning twice and recovered an Ole Miss fumble. After he completed 11 of 17 passes in the first half, Manning went 8-for-21 in the second half. His lone scoring pass was a 20-yard toss to Mike Espy in the second quarter, after which LSU responded with its first touchdown drive.

 

Manning's first interception came in the fourth quarter with Ole Miss (5-6, 2-5) leading 13-7 and having a chance to seal away the game. After taking over at the LSU 30 following a LaBrandon Toefield fumble, the Rebels got down to 8-yard line and faced a third-and-6 situation. Manning tried to throw near the goal line, but LSU cornerback Demetrius Hookfin stepped in to make the interception and returned it to the LSU 48.

 

The Tigers couldn't capitalize on the turnover but forced Ole Miss to go three-and-out on its next possession. LSU began its game-winning drive at its 26 and converted a fourth-and-1 at Rebels 35.

 

Facing third-and-4 at the 27, Randall saw that Clayton had beaten his man on a whip route and threw to him on the LSU sideline. Clayton turned up the field and went into the south end zone for the score.

 

Randall finished his night 13-of-20 for 179 yards passing and rushed for 31 yards.

 

"By not starting, I got to sit back and see what the defense was doing," said Randall. "I was out there and I was still focused and in the game. I knew I would get my chance and when I did, I had to take advantage of it."

 

In addition to forcing Manning to throw two interceptions, the LSU defense held Ole Miss to 61 yards rushing. Strong safety Norman LeJeune, one of 22 seniors playing in their final home game, led the Tigers with 13 tackles and sacked Manning twice.

 

"I just gave it my all tonight, knowing it was my last night in Tiger Stadium," said LeJeune. "I gave those guys 110 percent."

 

The Tigers' path back to the SEC Championship goes through Little Rock, Ark., on Friday when they will meet Arkansas to decide who will represent the West Division against Georgia in the title game on Dec. 7. The Razorbacks stayed in the thick of the title hunt with a win over Mississippi State.

 


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