With the Ole Miss defensive front all but shutting down LSU’s rushing game, the Tigers relied on an array of receivers to the keep the offensive wheels turning.
Terrance Toliver and Brandon LaFell once again combined for a productive day at the office, Toliver leading the way with 107 yards on five grabs and LaFell notching 75 yards on five catches as well.
LaFell and Toliver have combined for more receptions (95) than any other wide receiver tandem in the SEC. LaFell has 48 catches for 635 yards this season, while Toliver has 47 catches for 654 yards. Despite both receivers being kept out of the end zone in Oxford, the tandem has combined for 13 touchdowns this year.
Not to be outdone by his elder teammates, freshman Rueben Randle reached paydirt for the first and second time of his young LSU career. The Bastrop native had two catches for 42 yards, both of the grabs for touchdowns. The first score came on a 17-yard-pass from Jefferson in the second quarter and the last on an electric, but ultimately irrelevant 25-yard-reception late in the LSU’s failed fourth quarter comeback attempt.
Senior Chris Mitchell entered Saturday’s contest with just five receptions on the season, but grabbed four passes for 25 yards against the Rebels.
BIG SWING: Although it didn’t matter by the time the final seconds ticked off the clock, a sequence of events turned what looked to be a powerful Rebel start into an early Confederate disaster.
With the Rebels holding a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, Cassius Vaughn intercepted a Jordan Jefferson pass, swinging the momentum completely in the home team’s favor. So, it wasn’t a surprise when Jevan Snead connected with a jumping Shay Hodge in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown strike just minutes later to what would seem to be a 10-0 Ole Miss lead.
However, after an official review of the play the touchdown was nullified due to Hodge re-entering the playing field after running out of bounds. The LSU defense got its’ act together and held the Rebels to a 40-plus yard field goal attempt, which LSU defensive tackle Al Woods stuck his paw up and blocked. With the loose pigskin bouncing around, Kelvin Shepard pushed the loose ball toward Patrick Peterson which set in motion yet another amazing play on the sophomore cornerback’s highlight reel. Peterson effortlessly picked up the fumble, turned on his freakish speed, and went untouched 52 yards for the score to give LSU an early 7-3 lead.
DEXTER THE TERRIBLE: Ole Miss speedster Dexter McCluster topped 100 rushing yards for the second straight week and fourth straight SEC game with 148 yards on 24 carries. He also notched his first career completion, a 27-yard-touchdown strike to Shay Hodge.
With 903 yards this year, McCluster needs 97 yards to become just the fourth Rebel all-time to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. It would be the sixth 1,000-yard rushing season in school history.
NO LIMELIGHT, NO PROBLEM: As usual, Houston Nutt’s team is thriving in November. In what has become a trademark style for the rowdy reverend, Nutt and the Rebels are firing on all cylinders after struggling out of the gate.
After failing to live up to its preseason top-10 hype in the first month of the season, now out of the spotlight, the Rebels (8-3, 4-3) have won five of their last six games. The win over LSU gives the Rebels three in a row.