Rebels fall to Tigers 23-20 in overtime

BATON ROUGE, La. - There've been a lot of classic games in the Ole Miss-LSU football series. Another chapter was added to that growing book as 92,449 watched the ninth-ranked Tigers eek out a 23-20 overtime win Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.

LSU is now 9-2 on the season and 5-2 in Southeastern Conference play with a game remaining against Arkansas in Little Rock Friday. Ole Miss, 3-8 and 1-6, hosts Mississippi State on Saturday.

Although the first quarter was scoreless, Ole Miss head coach Ed Orgeron proved he was going to do whatever it took to win. After the Rebels held LSU on its first possession, Ole Miss went for it on fourth and 1 from its own 40 as a snap to Bruce Hall was handed off to Jamarca Sanford who gained three and kept the drive alive. Eventually the Rebels did punt.

The Rebel defense held LSU again and when another fourth down opportunity arose - this time fourth and 5 at its own 42 on the next UM series - punter Rob Park was incomplete on a pass intended for Hall. The Tigers took over at that point and in six plays scored a touchdown when JaMarcus Russell hit Dwayne Bowe for 13 yards. The extra point by Colt David was good, and with 13:55 to go in the second it was 7-0 home team.

But Ole Miss tied it up on its next possession. After LSU was offsides on a kickoff into the end zone, Marshay Green made the Tigers pay with a runback of 53 yards to the LSU 34. In six plays the Rebs were in the end zone when QB Brent Schaeffer completed a pass in the right flat to Hall that covered 22 yards. Joshua Shene was good on the point after, and with 9:55 left before halftime, it was 7-7.

Orgeron pulled out yet another trick as the Rebels' Will Moseley tried an onside kick which was successful. Ole Miss took over at the Tigers 39 and once again a drive of six plays accounted for a touchdown. BenJarvus Green-Ellis took it in from the 1-yard line, diving over the top for the score. Shene made it 14-7 with 6:57 left before intermission.

The Rebs had a shot at more points before the break. A drive that began at the LSU 32 after a punt and subsequent return by Green to the LSU 32 ended when Shene was no good on a 37-yard field goal attempt with 30 seconds to go before the half ended.

In the third period the Rebels added to their lead with two field goals. On the opening drive of the third period, it was another Green return, this time for 62 yards, with a runback to the Tigers 33. In six more plays the drive stalled at the LSU 20, and on fourth and 8, Shene was true on a 38-yarder for a 17-7 UM lead with 12:12 left in the third.

After the Tigers' David missed on a 48-yard field goal on their next possession, the Rebs took over at their own 31 and got it back in field goal range with backup QB Seth Adams in control. On fourth and 10 from the purple and gold 28, Shene was good on a 45-yarder to give UM a 20-7 advantage.

"We wanted to give Seth a chance," Orgeron said. "We felt that we were stalling a little bit, especially going into the red zone. So I wanted to give Seth a chance."

After LSU scored a touchdown and David PAT to cut the Rebel lead to six points at 20-14 with 8:46 to go in the game on a Russell to Early Doucet 4-yard pass, the stage was set for another of the classic finishes in Ole Miss-LSU lore.

The Rebels almost got the break they needed to perhaps finish the Tigers off had either one of two things happened after Tiger QB Russell was sacked at midfield. The Rebels tried to pick up the football after Russell was rushed and fumbled, but in the attempt to pick it up, they didn't even recover it. LSU got it back but it was then fourth and 26. Chris Jackson punted into the end zone instead of Ole Miss having the ball at the 50 or having scored a TD.

After Ole Miss couldn't move it, Park punted and the Tigers started a drive for points at their own 42. As the Tigers got close, the Rebel D stood tall on first and goal at the 5, second and goal, and third and goal - all incomplete passes by Russell. But on fourth and goal at the 5, Russell hit a wide open Bowe for a touchdown right in the heart of the end zone as the clock showed 14 seconds remained in the contest.

But good news for Ole Miss. On David's point after, John Jerry blocked the kick, and OT appeared on the horizon. After the clock ran out on the kickoff return and prior to another snap, the Rebels and Tigers marched to the south end zone of Tiger Stadium for extra football.

LSU won the toss and deferred. Green-Ellis gained four on first down at the 25, Schaeffer, back in the game for Adams for the first time since midway through the third, got a yard. But on third and 5 at the 20, Schaeffer was rushed, hit, fumbled, and LSU's Tyson Jackson recovered the football to turn it over to his team.

LSU moved from the 25 to the Rebel 9 in five plays, and on play six, a fourth and 5, David gave the Tigers a 23-20 victory.

"Ole Miss had an open week and made the best of it," said LSU head coach Les Miles. "Our team withstood the situation. Give Ole Miss credit. They ran the football against us and played well."

"We came down here to win," Orgeron said. "I felt our gameplan and attitude was to win. In some ways we're proud of our football team, but in other ways we're very disappointed we didn't find a way to win."

The Tigers outgained the Rebels 308 yards to 195, including 217 to 95 through the air. Ole Miss had the better of it on the ground 100 to 91.

LSU had 17 first downs to 13 for Ole Miss. Green-Ellis inched closer to the 1,000-yard mark with his 96 yards on the ground, including a touchdown. He has 962 yards on the season.

Schaeffer was 6-of-14 for 72 yards and a touchdown. Adams was 3-for-5 for 23 yards. Mike Wallace was the leading receiver for Ole miss with 4 catches for 35 yards.

Jacob Hester and Justin Vincent carried the load for LSU with 42 and 39 yards respectively. Bowe had 7 receptions for 64 yards and two touchdowns.

Patrick Willis and Rory Johnson had 12 and 11 tackles for Ole Miss respectively. Jacob Cutrera and Glenn Dorsey had 11 stops each for the Tigers.

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