Rebels stay close but can't catch LSU

Trindon Holliday's kickoff return for a touchdown, which gave LSU a 14-7 first quarter lead, put Ole Miss in a hole it was never able to dig out of. The nation's top-ranked team left Oxford with a 41-24 victory.

After the Tigers drove 98 yards in 11 plays for the game's first touchdown, a 5-yard rush by quarterback Matt Flynn followed by a Colt David extra point, the Tigers led 7-0 with 7:37 to go in the first period.

On their ensuing drive the Rebel defense stopped the Tigers and on fourth and 1 at their own 10. A Patrick Fisher punt was returned in electrifying fashion by Marshay Green 44 yards down the near sideline for a touchdown. Joshua Shene's point after tied the game 7-7 with 3:18 to go in the opening quarter.

But quick as a flash LSU got it right back – and put the Rebels in the earlier-referenced hole for the rest of the game. Holliday took Justin Sparks' kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, thus electrifying thousands of LSU fans among the 61,118 in attendance. David converted and the Tigers were back out in front 14-7 with 3:04 left in the first. And the Rebels would not lead or even tie again.

But there were other miscues on the day that hurt the Rebels' cause. Following LSU's first touchdown, Ole Miss came right back with a chance to score. A kickoff return of 37 yards by Mike Wallace to the Rebel 41-yard line set things up. Four plays later the Rebels were at the LSU 2. But on the very next play, BenJarvus Green-Ellis fumbled and Luke Sanders recovered for the Tigers at the 1-yard line.

Later, ith LSU up 14-7, the Rebels had a chance to tie the game before halftime. Following a Fisher punt, Ole Miss began a drive at its own 20 and moved deep into LSU territory. But breakdowns on offense – the Rebels used their three timeouts on the drive - led to no points.

On first and goal at the Tiger 4-yard line, there was a delay of game. Brent Schaffer, who had been in the game at quarterback since 12:35 of the second quarter, was replaced at that point with Seth Adams, who had started.

Adams was incomplete to Mike Wallace on first and goal at the 9. After a personal foul penalty on Ole Miss, the Rebs were back to the 24. On second and goal at the 24, Adams was intercepted in the back of the end zone by Craig Steltz with 25 seconds to go in the half.

Leading 14-7, LSU took the opening kickoff in the third quarter and drove it for a touchdown. The kickoff was a squibber, and the Tigers started at their own 46. Ten plays later Keiland Williams took it in from the 10-yard line. David was true and LSU was up 21-7 with 10:10 to go in the third.

The Rebels added a field goal by Shene (21-10) on their next drive, a nine-play, 68-yard trip that stopped on back to back incompletions by Schaeffer at the LSU 6-yard line.

The Tigers answered with a field goal of their own (24-10) when they got the ball back. David was true on the try from 48 yards with 4:23 left in the third period.

That's the way things stood heading into what would be a scoring fest in the fourth.

David added another field goal, this time from 43 yards with 11:36 to go for a 27-10 Tiger lead.

Schaeffer then scored on a beautiful run of 38 yards for the next UM score, capping a 7-play, 70-yard drive to pull the Rebels closer. Shene was good and with 9:11 to go it was LSU 27 and Ole Miss 17.

A couple of series later, LSU got more points as Jacob Hester scored from two yards out. David was good and the Tigers led 34-17 with 3:44 left. The drive was four plays and covered but 20 yards after a pass interception of Schaeffer by Steltz.

Ole Miss closed the gap in only four plays. After an incompletion, Schaeffer passed successfully twice to Dexter McCluster for 17 and 18 yards and then hit Shay Hodge for 33 yards and paydirt. Shene was true and Ole Miss trailed 34-24 with 2:54 remaining.

After the Rebels tried an onsides kick, LSU recovered the football at the Ole Miss 46. A Charles Scott rush for 29 yards two plays later was the final touchdown of the day. David was good again and LSU had a 17-point victory.

"I was pleased with how we played," said Ole Miss head coach Ed Orgeron, his team now 3-8 on the season and 0-7 in SEC play. "A couple of mistakes in the red zone were critical for us. The fumble at the 1-yard line and the interception in the end zone before halftime really hurt us."

The Rebels outgained the Tigers 466 yards to 396 yards. Ole Miss had 25 first downs to 21 for LSU.

Adams was 4-for-11 with the one interception. Schaeffer was 13-of-28 with two interceptions and a touchdown.

With 12 carries for 53 yards on the day, Green-Ellis rushed for more than 1,000 yards for the second consecutive season. The only other Rebel rushers to reach the 1,000-yard mark in a career were John Dottley twice in 1949 and 1950, and Deuce McAllister in 2000.

LSU improved to 10-1 and 6-1.

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