Coordinators

Not everything went right or according to plan, but in the end, the Ole Miss coordinators did not worry about it too much. Why would they? The Rebels won a classic battle against LSU 25-23 and all is well. Read about it inside.

Ole Miss Offensive Coordinator Kent Austin was not too enthralled about not being able to score a touchdown late to put the game away after having first-and-goal from the four.

Rebel Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix did not like the Rebs having to hang on by a thread on LSU's last possession.

But in the end, when the scoreboard read 25-23 in favor of Ole Miss, neither was going to make a big deal out of anything that didn't go according to plan.

"This was a great win for us," said Kent postgame. "We had some strange setbacks early in the game and one 14-point swing when they blocked the field goal and returned it all the way after Shay was called out of bounds on what looked like a TD catch, but our guys hung in there and did a fantastic job of overcoming some crazy things that happened to them. I thought those things might haunt us, but our guys showed a lot of resiliency.

"We moved the ball well all night, so nobody lost their composure and I think that was a big factor in the game. We knew as long as we were moving the ball that we would get some points somewhere."

Austin was extremely pumped about QB Jevan Snead's game - 14-21 with no picks good for 206 yards.

"Considering the situation and the magnitude of this game, he played his best game. He really managed the game well and was very accurate. He made some great throws and great decisions, and in the second half, he was really good with some big third-down throws we had to have. His composure in those situations was beautiful," Austin said. "For whatever reason, it seems he comes alive in October and November. He did it last year and he's doing it again this year.

TB Dexter McCluster, with 148 yards on 24 carries, and a touchdown pass on a halfback pass - was, once again, a hero of the day.

"That started up front. I really thought our offensive line had a fine day, both in run blocking and in pass protections against a really good LSU defense," Kent stated. "That's a very, very good defense we played out there today, guys. Very good, and we were able to put up 426 yards on them.

"That tells me everyone is playing well. The OL, the receivers blocking for Dexter and the other backs, the guys protecting the QB. Having said that, Dexter is a special player. He has such a huge heart and wants to win so badly. And he's so unselfish in going about it. Another incredible performance. And someone who won't show up on the star sheet a lot but had several key runs was Brandon Bolden. He ran really hard and did a really nice job getting some tough yards."

The offensive play of the game, without much argument, was the halfback pass from McCluster to Shay Hodge for a 27-yard TD that gave the Rebs a 22-17 lead early in the fourth quarter.

"Dexter sold the counter beautifully and Shay did a great job running a stop and go to get the safety and corner to bite for the run," Austin explained. "Pretty nice ball by Dexter, huh? I thought he threw it too flat at first from my view in the press box, but it was perfect. He put enough on it.

"We have been working that for a couple of weeks now, which is normal for us when we are introducing something new. We talked about it the whole game and almost ran it in the first half, but the timing to call it was perfect when we did it. We talked about it at halftime as to scenario where we wanted to run it and when the scenario presented itself, Houston called it and it worked beautifully."

Under Houston Nutt, the Rebels are 7-0, thus far, in November. Austin was asked why.

"A lot of the credit goes to Houston for keeping our guys fresh and fast, the way he practices them - not beating them up," he said. "Also, the players buy into what we are trying to do on both sides of the ball. They believe and they have great leadership within the group.

"The fact that we have not had a bye week since the second week of the season and they are playing with this much energy tells you that everyone deserves credit for the November success."

The only regret Austin had was his unit settling for a field goal with 3:42 to go after having first-and-goal from the four.

"We should have put the game away there. It was kind of a helpless feeling watching LSU get the ball back on the onside kick, but once the defense got the big sack at the end, I felt pretty good. Our defense deserves a lot of credit," said Austin. "That's what they do - they keep offenses out of the end zone and give us a chance on offense to win the game. They are incredible."

You've probably seen the movie "The Longest Yard." Nix lived what he termed the longest seconds in the final nine ticks of the game.

"We were truly blessed that the kids kept the faith, believed in each other and in the staff and they stepped up and made some plays at the end to keep us on top," said Nix. "The sack by Emmanuel Stephens and the tackle Patrick Trahan made on the swing pass were both great plays. On that screen pass, if Patrick doesn't make that play, it might go to the house. He's been on crutches most of the week, but he sucked it up and played that snap perfectly.

"It seemed like those last nine seconds took forever. Our kids showed a lot of character. We have several kids banged up, but they keep fighting and keep competing. It's good to see them rewarded in an adverse situation like they faced today."

LSU moved the ball too much for Nix's taste in the first half, so he made some adjustments at halftime.

"I thought we were playing a little soft and playing too much zone coverage. It looked like we were letting (LSU QB Jordan) Jefferson get in a comfort zone," Tyrone noted. "We told the kids at halftime we were going to do some things differently in the second half and apply more pressure. We challenged our front to get after Jefferson and we sent more people after him.

"He made some great throws under tremendous pressure on their late scoring drive, but we got to him at the end for a big sack and we rushed him several times in key situations."

The Tigers were limited to 40 rushing yards on 27 carries, but Nix said that number is a bit deceiving.

"They ran the ball a little better than I wanted them to," he said. "We had some sacks and minus-yardage plays that go against their run stats. They ran it a little better than the stats show, but we did a decent job against the run overall."

Nix closed his postgame thoughts by going back to the Rebs' character once again.

"I have been amazed. Greg Hardy is gone. Kentrell Lockett has been beat up and sick. Patrick was on crutches this morning. D.T. has played on a bum ankle most of the year. Others have been banged up. But they have pulled together and have vowed that they, individually, would not be the weak link," he closed. "To a man, they want to be the dominant link. They want to be the person to step up and make the play."

Nix was unaware of CB Cassius Vaughn getting hit in the private parts by a ref's flag when he was called for pass interference.

After the fact, some humor.

"That will probably end up on YouTube," Nix smiled.

As will many plays from this classic Ole Miss-LSU battle.


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