OXFORD, Miss. – The 5th-ranked Tigers proved to be too much for the Rebels on Saturday as LSU beat Ole Miss, 45-16, in Baton Rouge. The Tigers’ offense amassed 573 yards, including 292 through the air and 281 on the ground, while LSU’s defense held Ole Miss to 328 total yards (178 passing, 150 rushing).
Ohio State transfer quarterback Joe Burrow was nearly perfect as he gashed the Rebel defense for 292 yards and 3 TDs through the air and gained another 96 yards and one TD on the ground.
The defense just didn’t seem to have an answer for Burrow, as he moved the ball at will–whether it be passing or rushing.
Burrow’s completion percentage was lackluster going into Saturday’s game. Prior to the game against Ole Miss, Burrow had only completed more than 50% of his passes in one game all year–57% against Louisiana Tech. The hope was to force a struggling Burrow to pass; unfortunately, he was successful. On Saturday, Burrow finished with a season-high 72% completion rate and a 209.7 QBR. The defense couldn’t stop Burrow, and he proved himself as a solid QB.
The Rebel offense only scored 16 points on Saturday and nine of those were off field goals. The only offensive TD belonged to Scottie Philips as he took it up the middle for a one-yard TD in the 3rd quarter. Philips played well for the offense as he gained 96 yard on 16 carries.
Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu finished with 178 passing yards, no TDs and an interception on the opening possession. Overthrows and drops plagued the Rebels, as Ta’amu and his receivers never quite seemed to get in sync.
Mac Brown was busy for the Rebels, punting the ball six times. At one point, he punted three times in a row as the offense was stymied on three, consecutive 3-and-outs.
Penalties, penalties and even more penalties
The biggest struggle the Rebels dealt with in the loss to LSU was penalties. Ole Miss committed 17 infractions that cost the team 167 yards–a staggering number. The Rebels amassed more penalty yards than rushing yards, and the 167 yards were the most by an LSU opponent in Tiger history.
Penalties killed Ole Miss’s chances of pulling an upset in Death Valley.
- Early in the 2nd quarter, LSU faced a 4th and 1 and lined up to punt. Ole Miss called a timeout, and LSU decided in the timeout to go for the first down rather than punt. The Tigers then lined up–and the Rebels jumped offsides, giving LSU new life. The Tigers would march down and score a touchdown.
- Midway through the 2nd quarter, Ole Miss committed two pass interference penalties in three plays. LSU marched down and scored another touchdown.
- At the end of the 2nd quarter, Ole Miss forced a fumble; however, it was called back due to a facemask committed on the play.
- Midway through the 4th quarter, Ole Miss lined up to go for it on 4th and 4. Unfortunately, the Rebels were called for a false start and were then forced to punt.
These are just four of the penalties that really hurt the Rebels’ chances, two of which continued LSU drives that led to touchdowns for the Tigers. Ole Miss couldn’t get out of its own way Saturday, and because of the 17 penalties LSU took control.
Despite leading 3-0 in the 1st quarter, Ole Miss never really got on track in Death Valley. The offense was stagnant for most of the game–and when it was on the move, the unit would stall in the redzone and be forced to kick a field goal. I would have liked to see a little bit more of a “damn the torpedoes” mindset on Saturday from the Ole Miss coaching staff.
I would have preferred Ole Miss go for it instead of punting at times. For example, I wish we would not have a kicked a field goal from inside the 5-yard line, down 28-3 before the half. I think Ole Miss plays better when it plays with nothing to lose–and a team with nothing to lose can be dangerous.
The defense did snag two turnovers against the Tigers; however, missed tackles continue to plague the Rebels. These missed tackles have been an issue the entirety of Crime Dawgs’s second tenure at Ole Miss, and until this issue is fixed the defense will continue to give up a lot of yards and points.
Ole Miss returns home this week for a Homecoming game against Louisiana-Monroe. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. (CT). This is a great opportunity for the Rebels to bounce back and regain some offensive swagger, make some adjustments on defense, and reduce penalties. Before heading to Arkansas the following weekend, Ole Miss needs to get back any confidence that may have been lost in Baton Rouge.
Here’s to a win on Saturday!