Each week, The Rebel Walk’s Jeff Tetrick takes a look at the Ole Miss Postgame Points, examining five takeaways from the Rebels’ most recent football game. Here are his Postgame Points from the LSU game.
1. Senior Night Fight
Ole Miss battled No. 1 LSU to the very end on Senior Night at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. What started out as a football game turned into a track meet. Ole Miss surprised LSU and the national television audience by matching the Tigers score for score in the second half and keeping the game within reach until the final moments. In the end, the top-ranked Tigers (10-0, 6-0 SEC) outlasted the Rebels (4-7, 2-5 SEC) by a score of 58-37.
While the Rebels were not able to send the seniors out with a victory in their final contest at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, they fought for sixty minutes and played with the heart of a champion. Nothing showed how hard this team and this senior class played against the nation’s top-rated team like the spectacular second-half showing by the Rebels.
Those of us who have watched every minute of each Ole Miss game this fall knew this team would not quit after falling behind 31-7 at halftime. What we did not know was just how sensational the Rebels would play in the final thirty minutes. Ole Miss outscored LSU 30-27 with a rousing second-half performance. The Rebels pulled to within 11 points of LSU in the third quarter, and Ole Miss had the lead down to 14 points with just over 3 minutes to play in the game. The Rebels were not able to pull out a win, but they traded punches with No. 1 LSU and made it a senior night fight until the clock ran out.
2. Big Runs
Ole Miss relied on its dominant running game to do most of the damage against top-ranked LSU. The Rebels had big runs throughout the game in picking up 17 first downs on the ground and averaging a whopping 9.1 yards per run. Ole Miss ran the ball 44 times for 402 yards and 4 touchdowns against one of the country’s top units at stopping the run.
Freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee had a career-best night against the Tigers. Plumlee ran the ball 21 times for 212 yards and 4 scores. LSU did not have an answer for containing Plumlee, especially in that electrifying second half when Plumlee found the end zone on 3 occasions. It is the fifth time this year that Plumlee has reached the 100-yard mark in a game and the first time he has surpassed the 200-yard mark.
Freshman running back Jerrion Ealy rushed for a career-high 141 yards, topping the 100-yard mark for the first time in his career.
The 402 rushing yards by Ole Miss is the most given up by LSU since 2010 when Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and eventual national champion Auburn rumbled for 440 yards on the ground in a 24-17 win at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The most rushing yards LSU had allowed this season was 146 in a victory over Florida in October.
Ole Miss has run for more than 400 yards in consecutive games and has surpassed that number 3 times this year. The Rebels rushed for 447 yards in last week’s win over New Mexico State and went for 413 yards in a win over Vanderbilt in October.
3. Passing Connection
Ole Miss had one of its better nights throwing the ball against No. 1 LSU, as the Rebels threw for more than 200 yards for just the fifth time this season. As a team, Ole Miss completed 15 of 27 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown. The Rebels averaged just over 14 yards per completion. Ole Miss is just the fourth team this season to complete fifty-five percent of its passes against the Tigers.
Matt Corral completed 6 of 11 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown, while John Rhys Plumlee hit on 9 of 16 passes for 123 yards. Both young quarterbacks found a successful passing connection with sophomore wide receiver Elijah Moore. Moore caught 9 passes for 143 yards and 1 touchdown against LSU. Corral connected with Moore for a sensational 55-yard touchdown late in the game that stands as Moore’s longest reception of the year. Moore leads Ole Miss with 64 catches for 815 yards and 5 scores this year.
4. Chasing Tigers
In trying to keep up with the high-octane LSU offense, the Ole Miss defense spent much of Saturday night chasing Tigers. LSU ran 81 plays in the game to keep Rebel defenders on the move all night long.
Jalen Julius and Willie Hibbler did the best job of chasing down Tigers, as each recorded 9 tackles to pace the defense. Linebacker Jacquez Jones made 8 stops and combined with Sam Williams for a sack. Sophomore defensive back Keidron Smith registered 8 tackles, 1 sack, and an interception. Freshman defensive back Deantre Prince notched 7 stops and 1 interception. Defensive end Tariqious Tisdale contributed 4 tackles and 1 sack. In all, the Rebels finished the night with 3 sacks and 2 interceptions against one of the nation’s top offensive units.
The Ole Miss defense created a pair of takeaways against LSU. Defensive backs Keidron Smith and Deantre Prince intercepted passes by LSU quarterback Joe Burrow in the second half to help fuel the Ole Miss comeback attempt. Prince grabbed his second interception of the season, while Smith hauled in his first pick this year.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow came into the game with 34 touchdown passes against just 4 interceptions this season. The Rebels are the first team in 2019 to secure 2 interceptions against Burrow and LSU. The last team to pick off Burrow twice in a game was Florida in 2018.
It is the third time this season that the Rebels have recorded 2 or more interceptions in a game. Ole Miss grabbed 3 picks against Southeastern Louisiana in September and 2 versus Texas A&M in October. The Rebels now have 10 interceptions and 5 fumble recoveries through 11 games.
Ole Miss will travel to Starkville on Thanksgiving night to play rival Mississippi State in the final game of the 2019 season. The Rebels own an all-time record of 62-45-6 against the Bulldogs. Mississippi State won last year’s Egg Bowl battle in Oxford, while Ole Miss claimed the Egg Bowl trophy most recently in 2017 with a 31-28 victory in Starkville. The Rebels have won 3 of the last 5 meetings in the series and have been victorious in each of the past 2 trips to Starkville. Hotty Toddy!