(Saturday, November 21st)
Final Score: Ole Miss 25, (10) LSU 23
Oxford, MS (Sports Network) - Dexter McCluster ran all over a stout LSU defense and also threw a go-ahead touchdown pass to Shay Hodge early in the fourth quarter, as Ole Miss thwarted a late rally to upend the 10th-ranked Tigers, 25-23, in a wild finish at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
The Rebels went ahead, 25-17, on Joshua Shene's fourth field goal of the game with 3:42 remaining. Jordan Jefferson quickly led the Tigers down the field and hit an open Rueben Randle with a 25-yard scoring strike with 1:17 left.
Following a defensive pass interference penalty on the first two-point try, a jump ball to Terrance Toliver fell incomplete. LSU, however, recovered the ensuing onside kick to stay alive.
Brandon LaFell caught a 26-yard screen pass to move the ball to the Ole Miss 32-yard line, but a sack and a seven-yard loss on another screen on second and third down, respectively, moved the ball back to the 48 and wasted LSU's final two timeouts, the last coming with nine seconds showing.
A long delay in getting the final timeout called proved costly, as Toliver caught a 43-yard bomb at the Ole Miss five. Toliver came down with the ball with one second on the clock, but an unorganized Tigers offense failed to get a final snap off.
"Timeouts were being called verbally and I didn't relate to the official apparently and that was the mistake," LSU head coach Les Miles said, referring to the delay in calling the final timeout. "Those seconds that ticked off before would certainly have made a difference because if we clock that ball, we then have to opportunity to kick the field goal to win."
McCluster finished with 148 yards on 24 carries, Jevan Snead was an efficient 14-of-21 for 206 yards, and Hodge had seven catches for 117 yards for the Rebels (8-3, 4-3 SEC), who outgained the Tigers, 426-290, for their third straight win.
Jefferson, who missed last week's win over Louisiana Tech due to a right ankle sprain, connected on 19-of-37 tosses for 250 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for LSU (8-3, 4-3), which lost for the second time in three weeks.
Ole Miss won the field-position battle in a scoreless third frame and started its go-ahead drive from the LSU 44 early in the fourth. After Hodge caught an 11-yard pass and McCluster ran for six more, the latter found the former behind the secondary for a 27-yard score via a halfback toss for a 22-17 lead.
"It was a trick play," Hodge said. "The [secondary] went after Dexter because he'd been running the ball so well, but they didn't expect him to throw it."
The Tigers quickly went three-and-out, and the Rebels held the ball for nearly 8 1/2 minutes before settling for a 23-yard Shene field goal that led to the final dramatics.
Shene booted a 45-yard field goal 2:13 into the game and set up for another 45-yard try midway through the opening frame. However, the kick was blocked, and Patrick Peterson returned the loose ball 53 yards for a score.
A Shene 25-yard field goal came roughly four minutes later, and Jefferson ended an exciting opening frame by hitting Randle for a 17-yard TD for a 14-6 LSU lead.
The teams traded field goals in the second frame, as Shene was true from 33 yards out and Josh Jasper got enough behind a 50-yard boot with 6:23 left before the half.
Consecutive completions to Hodge of 13 and 26 yards moved Ole Miss inside the Tigers' 10-yard line, and Jesse Grandy ran around the right end on a sweep for a three-yard score to cut Ole Miss' deficit to 17-15 at halftime after an unsuccessful two-point conversion.
It was a punt-filled third quarter, with only the Rebels penetrating enemy territory. They did so late in the frame, but ended up punting from the LSU 42.
LSU finishes up its regular season schedule against Arkansas next week, while the Rebels still have rival Mississippi State on the docket...Snead joined Eli Manning as the only quarterbacks in Ole Miss history to throw for 2,000 yards in consecutive seasons...Keiland Williams led LSU running game with 40 yards on 11 carries before leaving with an ankle injury in the second half...Toliver finished with 107 yards on five catches, while LaFell added five grabs for 75 yards...The Tigers still have a 55-38-4 advantage in the all-time series.
11/21 21:35:43 ET