Postgame Points : Ole Miss 38, LSU 17
1. Still Playing For Ten
Ole Miss was able to grab its eighth win of the season on Senior Day at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. #22 Ole Miss scored a commanding 38-17 victory over #15 LSU. The Rebels finish the season with a 6-1 record at home for the second straight year. Also, the Rebels won on Senior Day for the second consecutive year.
With a record of 8-3 heading into the season finale at Mississippi State, the Rebels are still playing for ten wins this year. The last time Ole Miss finished with 10 wins was 2003, when Eli Manning led the Rebels to a 10-3 mark and a Cotton Bowl victory.
By beating the Tigers, Ole Miss regains possession of the Magnolia Bowl trophy. Since the Magnolia Bowl’s inception in 2008, Ole Miss and LSU have split the series with 4 wins apiece.
2. SEC West Race
Ole Miss sits alone in second place in the SEC West heading into the final weekend of the regular season. The Rebels are a game behind Alabama. If Alabama loses to Auburn, and Ole Miss defeats Mississippi State, the Rebels would tie the Crimson Tide for the SEC West title. Ole Miss would win the tiebreaker by virtue of their win over Alabama in September, meaning the Rebels would play in the SEC championship game against Florida. If Alabama defeats Auburn, as expected, Ole Miss can claim second place in the West by winning in Starkville.
Further, the Rebels can finish with a 6-2 SEC mark by beating the Bulldogs. The last Ole Miss team to win at least 6 SEC contests in a season was the 2003 squad that had a 7-1 league record.
Ole Miss already is ensured of a winning conference record for the second year in a row. It is the first time since 1989-1990 that the Rebels have accomplished that feat.
3. Defense Steps Up
Faced with the task of slowing down Heisman Trophy candidate Leonard Fournette, the Ole Miss defense stepped up to the challenge and played a large role in the win over #15 LSU. The Landsharks held Fournette to 108 yards rushing on 25 carries, for an average of just 4.3 yards per rush. Fournette came into the game averaging 163.8 yards per game. Further, the Rebels kept Fournette out of the endzone all day.
The Rebel defense created 3 turnovers against the Tigers. Marquis Haynes recovered a fumble, and both Zedrick Woods and Christian Russell tallied an interception. As a unit, the Landsharks broke up 10 passes, recorded 5 quarterback hurries, garnered 7 tackles-for-loss, and had 1 sack in the game. When the defense is making plays like that, Ole Miss will almost certainly win the game.
4. Defensive Stars
Marquis Haynes earned SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors for his effort against LSU. In addition to recovering a fumble, Haynes had 4 tackles, 1 quarterback hurry, and 1 tackle-for-loss
DeMarquis Gates was awarded the SEC Defensive Player of the Week label for his performance against the Tigers. Gates broke up 1 pass, had 1 quarterback hurry, and recorded a team-high 14 tackles.
Senior Mike Hilton contributed 9 tackles, had a tackle-for-loss, and broke up 3 passes. Fellow senior C. J. Johnson added 7 tackles, 1 quarterback hurry, and forced a fumble. Senior Trae Elston broke up a pass and pitched in with 7 tackles, as well. It was nice to see the seniors have big performances in their final home game.
5. Passing Game
Chad Kelly and his receiving corps had another top-notch performance against the LSU Tigers. Kelly completed 19 of 34 passes for 280 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Kelly added 2 touchdowns on the ground and led the Rebels with 81 rushing yards.
Junior Evan Engram was the top Rebel receiver on Saturday afternoon. Engram caught 5 passes for 58 yards and a touchdown to pace the receivers. Junior Laquon Treadwell grabbed 4 receptions for 58 yards and 1 touchdown. Cody Core, Quincy Adeboyejo, Jordan Wilkins, and Damore’ea Stringfellow each recorded 2 receptions, while Akeem Judd and Jaylen Walton had 1 catch apiece.