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OXFORD, Miss. – It wasn’t your normal quarterback duel. This was arm versus legs.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow threw for 489 yards and five touchdowns to lead the top-ranked Tigers to a 58-37 win.
Ole Miss quarterback John Rhys Plumlee toasted the Tigers for 212 on the ground and scored four times.
“The running game went good tonight,” Plumlee commented. “But as good as our running game was, there’s a lot of opportunities we left out there.”
The two teams combined for 1,328 yards as LSU improved to 10-0 while the Rebs fell to 4-7.
After falling four touchdowns behind in the first half, Ole Miss made a game of it in the second half and finished with 614 yards of total offense.
Two plays into the third quarter, Plumlee tucked the ball under his arm and outraced the entire Tigers’ defense 46 yards for a touchdown that sparked the Rebels. After LSU answered with a field goal, Plumlee went back to work.
This time the freshman torched the Tigers with a 60-yard scoring run and after he added a two-point conversion, Ole Miss cut the lead to 34-23.“The offensive line did a really good job out there. And those receivers out there blocking down the field, putting in the extra effort, makes it really easy on my part to run the ball,” Plumlee said.
“I think that’s what Ole Miss is all about. Fight, fight fight, whatever it takes. We had a chance to cut it down and we didn’t. We missed opportunities.“
Ole Miss QB John Rhys Plumlee
Although LSU added ten points to take a three-touchdown lead, Plumlee wasn’t done. His fourth trip into the end zone was from 35 yards and gave the Rebels hope for an upset.
“We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game,” said Plumlee. “With time on the clock, there’s always a chance. We did have a chance but just left some opportunities out there,” he reiterated.
And Burrow, the front-runner for this year’s Heisman, was happy to take advantage of the Rebels’ missed opportunities. With 5:11 left in the game, he hit Ja’Marr Chase and the wide receiver raced 61 yards for the sealing touchdown.
But before the final gun, the Rebels’ Matt Corral showed he also has an arm. Corral hit Elijah Moore on a 55-yard pass to provide the final Ole Miss points.
LSU added a late touchdown run to close out the scoring.
Ole Miss dug itself into a 28-0 deficit before finally getting on the scoreboard when Plumlee scampered for a five-yard touchdown. LSU answered with a field goal to make the halftime score 31-7.
“We dug ourselves in too deep of a hole,” head coach Matt Luke said in his postgame press conference.
“They did come out and battle. Offensively, we got the run game going in the second half. We got a couple of turnovers and got back in it. We had opportunities to cut it to a one score game right there, but I’m just disappointed that I don’t think we played our best. They are a good team, they caused some of that. They are really good on offense.“
Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke
LSU wasted little time finding the end zone. The Tigers took the opening kickoff and easily moved 75 yards in seven plays to a touchdown when Chase got behind the Ole Miss secondary and Burrow hit him with a 34-yard scoring strike that gave head coach Ed Orgeron’s team a 7-0 lead.
LSU ended the period by getting into the end zone again. This time the Tigers drove 80 yards and took a two-touchdown lead when Tyrion Davis-Price reached paydirt from the Rebels’ 4.
The Tigers earned 12 first downs in the opening quarter and only faced three third downs, converting on two of them as they moved the ball at will. LSU only ran 24 plays.
To open the second quarter, Chase beat the Rebels’ defense again and he hauled in a 51-yard scoring pass to give LSU a 21-0 lead moments into the period.
Plumlee finishes with 123 yards passing while Corral chipped in 88.
Jerrion Ealy had 141 yards on 13 carries. As a team, Ole Miss racked up 402 yards rushing.
The Rebels outscored the No. 1 Tigers 30-27 in the second half. Unfortunately, Burrow’s arm helped outscore Ole Miss 31-7 in the first half.
• Ole Miss tallied a season-high 614 yards of total offense, including 402 yards on the ground.
• It was the second straight game with over 600 yards of total offense and 400 yards rushing for the Rebels.
• The 402 rushing yards tied for the 16th most in school history.
• LSU came into the contest as No. 2 in the SEC and No. 13 nationally in rushing defense, only allowing only 100.7 yards rushing per game.
• It was the most rushing yards against an LSU defense since at least 1960.
• Ole Miss allowed zero sacks to an LSU defense that had at least 1.0 in each game this season.
• Ole Miss tallied three touchdown drives on the ground that took two plays or less … The Rebels now have seven such drives on the season.
• QB John Rhys Plumlee led the Ole Miss rushing attack, carrying the ball 21 times for 212 yards and four TDs.
• It was the most rushing yards by an Ole Miss quarterback in a single game, passing Norris Weese’s 178 rushing yards set in 1972.
• The 212 yards were also the most rushing yards ever in a single game by an Ole Miss freshman.
• Plumlee extended his freshman rushing touchdown record (11), as well as his freshman overall TD record (15).
• The last time an Ole Miss player rushed for four or more touchdowns was Dexter McCluster vs. Tennessee in 2009.
• RB Jerrion Ealy rushed for a career-high 141 yards.
• It marked back-to-back games that two Ole Miss players rushed for 100 yards in the same contest.
• WR Elijah Moore hauled in nine catches for a career-high 143 yards … Moore also hauled in his fifth TD reception.
• Ole Miss forced two interceptions from Joe Burrow. It was only the second multi-interception game of Burrow’s career.
• ILB Willie Hibbler had a career-high nine tackles to lead the Ole Miss defense.
• DB Jalen Julius tallied nine tackles and two pass breakups.
• DB Keidron Smith set a career high in total tackles (eight).
• Smith tallied his first interception of the season and second of his career.
• The seven tackles for DB Deantre Prince were a career high. Prince registered his second interception of the season and his career.
Ole Miss is off next Saturday but will close its 2019 regular season on Thanksgiving Day at Mississippi State. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CT on ESPN.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.